BILLIONAIRE Clive Palmer is being asked to take a gamble for tourism by building a casino at his luxury Coolum resort.
The maverick mining magnate might have retreated yesterday from apparent plans for "a mini Las Vegas" on the Sunshine Coast, but there is already a growing chorus in support of a revitalised tourism industry.
A Palmer-brand casino to attract rich Asians to holiday in the region is a perfect goal in the eyes of Sunshine Coast Destination CEO Steve Cooper.
"In this very, very fierce environment, Queensland just can't sit on its hands. It has to look at new ways to become competitive and meaningful to its new markets," Mr Cooper said.
"Asia is at the top of its list of priorities."
Mr Palmer baffled many yesterday when he released a statement declaring a casino was not the answer to boost tourism on the Coast.
He made the statement despite admitting he had trademarked the name Coolum Casino and bought the domain coolumcasino.com.au last month.
Mr Palmer claimed the move to secure the trademark and domain were "simply to stop other tourism operators from doing so in the future".
He said he wasn't preparing to build a casino at the resort, which he bought last year, and hadn't spoken about it with members of the newly-elected Newman Government.
Mr Palmer snapped up rights to the name Coolum Casino after he removed Hyatt as manager of the resort and renamed it Coolum Resort and Spa.
Mr Cooper said the Coast's strength had always been "doing the home-grown things very well" and the region was popular for
families as a safe, clean and environmentally-friendly holiday area.
He said those strengths would not change but a new era had to begin.
"In tough times you've got to revitalise your products and services and be relevant to your markets," he said.
"It's no secret that there is a policy for Queensland to be the first China-ready state in Australia.
"So it would be inappropriate for the Sunshine Coast to sit on the sidelines."
Last year the number of international visitors to the Coast dropped by 14%.
Mr Cooper said the Asian tourism for the state was expected to grow as much as 17% over the next three years.
He encouraged fierce debate about the proposal of a casino for the Coast.
He stressed a "boutique-style" would be most likely to win the support it needed from residents.
"No doubt this will have its supporters and an equal number of detractors," he said.
"But the notion of a boutique-style casino within the confines of the (Coolum resort) tourism precinct accords well with market potential.
"And there's no doubt that there's a spillover effect as more and more international visitors put the Sunshine Coast on their radar. That can only be a positive thing going forward."
Mr Palmer said he had not spoken with "any authorities or the Queensland Government" about building a casino.
"I do not believe a casino would be the answer to boosting tourism on the Sunshine Coast," he said.
"A much broader strategy is needed.
"A casino could also have a detrimental social impact on the Sunshine Coast."
Mr Cooper said: "Done in an appropriate manner that accords with the Sunshine Coast lifestyle and planning regimes, this would be a positive contribution to the future of our industry."
He said the tourism industry was struggling and needed to be revitalised quickly.
Clive Palmer took a trademark on the name Coolum Casino on the day before the state election.
It includes several classes of goods and services, covering everything from gaming facilities, stage productions and musical shows, cabarets, nightclubs and conventions right down to specific items such as branded playing cards.
"It is true that one of my companies has registered a trademark for the name Coolum Casino ... but this is simply to stop other tourism operators from doing so in the future," Mr Palmer said.
"In tough times you've got to revitalise your products and services and be relevant to your markets."
Need more space for your family...but still want low maintenance? This huge family home is waiting for you! It offers separation of living, media room, activity...
Taking up an entire floor at the boutique "Kingsview" complex at Kings Beach, this generous sized 216m2 luxury apartment offers the finest of sophisticated beach...
Located in the heart of gorgeous Pelican Waters, in a location that is consistently popular. Surrounded by outstanding features and natural assets, such as...
Custom designed to the highest of standards, this chic and stylish home, absolutely pristine throughout and located in a quality residential enclave offers premium...
Owner has now relocated due to work commitments and wants this property sold, presenting all reasonable offers. One of the most recognised apartment buildings on...
This quality family home in the ever-popular leafy Old Orchard Estate in Palmwoods offers easy care living in a quiet, elevated cul-de-sac within walking distance...
** Open Saturday 11-11.30am ** This home is pure perfection!!! With every detail of the property meticulously designed and carried out to highest of standards, you...
Selling now a home your family will love - Two separate living rooms flowing to a large covered outdoor living room looking over the pool. 3 or 4 bedrooms, the...
Loads of character fills this family home from the modern country style kitchen, timber floors and open plan living flows to surrounding verandas. Spacious...
** Open Saturday 1-1.30pm ** Ed Hackenberg is pleased to offer to the market this terrific family home located in the well known and sought after location that is...
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.