A NEW economic impact analysis has shown that developing a global tourism hub in Cairns’ Ports North precinct could attract 50,000 to 500,000 extra tourists per year.

The 4.4 hectare Ports North site is the centre of the Cairns tourism precinct – located near major tourism drawcards – the cruise liner terminal, convention centre and the marina. A proposal to develop the Trinity Inlet Wharf incorporates premium hotels, residential accommodation, commercial and retail leases, convention facilities and a casino.

Queensland tourism industry development minister Kate Jones said PWC’s Tropical North Global Tourism Hub analysis showed that new infrastructure was crucial to growing the tourism industry.

“This report draws on the experiences of Singapore, Macau, Melbourne and Perth in their developments attracting additional visitors and increasing visitor night numbers,” she said.

“It gives us a genuine indication of what’s on offer as we seek more tourists who stay longer and spend more money in Cairns.”

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Member for Cairns Michael Healy said at peak construction the project could create between 470 and 620 jobs.

“This report also shows that a global tourism hub could grow the gross regional product in Cairns by $70m to $95m a year,” he said.

Mr Healy said PWC estimated over a 30-year period the total impact of the project on the gross regional product of the Cairns economy was between $540m and $2bn.

“When the tourism industry in Cairns is doing well, everyone benefits,” he said.

“That’s why we’re committed to delivering new infrastructure that we know will give a boost to the economy and grow our share of the international visitor market.”

The analysis in the PWC report is built on a low to high range of development with capital costs of between $665m and $815m.

“A global tourism hub would help us tap into major growth of the rising Asian middle class,” speaker of the Queensland Parliament and member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said.

“China will continue to remain a significant driver of growth. Combined with stronger Indian visitor numbers and the mature European and American markets, it’s more important than ever before that we deliver new tourism infrastructure in the far north,” he said.

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