The Queensland Government’s decision to focus on events is reaping reward – again and again and again, Premier Peter Beattie said today.

‘Brisbane, Cairns and the Gold Coast are defying the national trend and clearly leading the nation when it comes to hotel occupancy and yield trends.

The latest Andersen Hotel Benchmark Survey Report details that hotel occupancy across Australia fell 2.9% last year – but Brisbane led the nation with a rise of 8.8% while Cairns 3.3% and the Gold Coast 3% also showed gains.

‘Occupancies in Brisbane (76%) and Cairns (75%) were the nation’s best in 2001.

‘The Gold Coast also rose three per cent to 68% and the Tropical North (north Queensland resorts), despite a poor fourth quarter, climbed 2% to 70%.’

The Survey provides monthly performance statistics for eight cities and four regions across Australia.

Andersen’s hospitality and leisure director Rutger Smits said Queensland’s success was largely attributed to its strong events calendar.

He added that the Gold Coast Motorway proved that investment in quality infrastructure reaped reward for when airline numbers dropped it was obvious more people opted for drive holidays.

‘It is also pleasing that the increased demand has meant generally better room yields – Brisbane rose $82 to $90, Cairns from $81 to $84, the Gold Coast from $78 to $80 and the Tropical north was constant at $89,’ he said.

Mr Beattie said these successes came at the time of Ansett’s demise and significant post-September 11 downturns in flight activity and capacity.

‘The first three quarters were strong indeed, but the fourth quarter was tough; however our Queensland Events strategy is underpinning the industry.

‘Our strategy of supporting events like the Goodwill Games and ensuring we have the added magnets in world-class venues – like the revamped ANZ, the Gabba, Lyric Theatre, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Roma Street Parkland and, in the future, Suncorp Metway Stadium, mean we have the best place to holiday, play sport and to do business,’ he said.

Tourism Minister Ms Rose said recent marketing efforts and trade missions by herself and the Premier to Asia, New Zealand and the United States were also producing results.

‘The future is very bright. Our Make Time domestic marketing campaign in the fourth quarter of last year was sensationally successful, insulating the tourism and hospitality industry from much of the damage suffered elsewhere in Australia in the wake of September 11 and the Ansett collapse.

‘Following meetings with Air New Zealand last year, the airline has scheduled additional flights into Brisbane (six extra a week) and Cairns (two new flights a week) from next month.

‘Singapore Airlines has announced two additional flights into Brisbane each week and by year’s end we will have a whole new airline in Australian based in Cairns.

‘This is an exciting outcome in troubled times but it is underpinned by the successful strategy of targeting an events program aimed at plugging the quiet-time gaps,’ she said.

Mr Beattie said when lifestyle, weather, ever-improving accommodation and transport infrastructure are added together it is no surprise outstanding numbers are being set.

‘Last year was by far the biggest year yet in Queensland Events 12 years. Today’s figures further attest that these are working.

‘Currently through Queensland Events we support a calendar of 22 major events and 16 regional events. With in weeks I will announce a further round of funding of at least another 15 regional events.

‘That is an investment in over 50 major and regional events, a unique tapestry of events in sport and Arts that make Queensland a more interesting place to visit, a more compelling place in which to live and do business.

‘In 2003 Queensland is seeking a greater role in the rewritten Rugby World Cup, which coincides with the formal opening of the revitalised Suncorp Metway Stadium. The World Cup is the world’s third largest sporting event.

‘Add to that the Air New Zealand Golden Oldies Rugby World Festival – Brisbane (4,000 competitors) and the Rotary International Convention – Brisbane – (25,000 delegates),’ he said.

March 26, 2002
Media contact Steve Keating 3224 4500