Austrailan Billionaire Planning Family-Friendly Theme Park

Courier Mail: Queenland’s richest man, Clive Palmer, has vowed to invest "a couple of billion dollars" to make the Sunshine Coast the jewel in the state's tourism crown. The mining magnate, who recently bought the Hyatt Regency Coolum Resort, said the area was unique in the world and deserved better recognition.

Mr Palmer opened fire at politicians and the private sector, saying a lack of commitment in promoting tourism overseas had led to the industry's demise. "This generation has let it die. In the past we had images of Paul Hogan putting a shrimp on the barbie and World Expo. The potential has always been there, but we have let it slip," he said.

"There are 10 million Chinese going to Waikiki and the US on package tours each year. Why don't they come here?"

He foreshadowed a major redevelopment of the Hyatt site and "other properties in the area" to create a resort precinct that would be attractive to international tourists. He would not confirm or deny considering a casino element, but said an exciting family-oriented theme park or attraction could be in the mix. The Hyatt's championship golf course would stay.

"I expect to announce a comprehensive plan in May next year," he said.

Mr Palmer, whose company Mineralogy is private and unaffected by the share market turmoil, was at Coolum yesterday to announce the Hyatt would sponsor his Gold Coast United soccer team in the upcoming A-League season.

Queensland Tourism Minister Jan Jarratt said that Mr Palmer's promise of investment was a "vote of confidence" in the state's tourism industry. "If anyone knows a good investment when they see it, it would be Queensland's richest man," she said.

Ms Jarratt said she disagreed that not enough was being done to attract international tourists. She said Tourism Queensland had established offices in China and was working hard to prepare operators for the emergence of what was expected to be a strong growth market.

Mr Palmer also revealed he would work towards luring direct flights with China Airlines to Sunshine Coast Airport.


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