Australia’s largest hotel group, Accor, says that projects like the James Packer casino-hotel development at Barangaroo were vital if Sydney is to compete in the highly competitive Asia Pacific tourism market.
Accor, which operates over 200 hotels in Australia, and over 30 in the greater Sydney area, believes that the Barangaroo project and the re-development of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre will finally give Sydney the tourism infrastructure it needs to counter the advances of major cities in Asia, as well as other State capitals in Australia.
“There is no doubt that Sydney failed to make the most of the Sydney Olympics and let its tourism infrastructure run-down, just at a time when cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Melbourne were ramping it up,” says Accor chief operating officer, Simon McGrath.
“Sydney has so many natural advantages, but without investment in infrastructure it is easy for a city to fall behind its competitors in attracting major events, high-yielding tourists and large-scale conferences. These produce tens of millions of dollars for the local economy and in the end benefit the whole Australian economy.
“After a decade of inactivity, Barry O’Farrell’s Government has shown that tourism is a priority for the city by providing the opportunity for major developments, and now we have a private investor in the form of James Packer, who is prepared to fund a project that will add significantly to the city’s tourism resources. We certainly need to support such commitment and vision.
“Anyone who has been to Singapore and Macau will have been able to see the impact of such developments on the tourism market. It is not just about gaming, it’s about creating facilities that tourists want. The Marina Bay Sands development in Singapore has created a whole new dimension to the city, attracted tourists who would never have gone there, and benefited the whole economy. The Packer Barangaroo development can have the same impact in Sydney.
“China is a large part of the future of Australian tourism, and the Chinese market has shown an increasing appetite for quality integrated developments like this. It will definitely raise Australia’s profile in China, as well as in many other important Asian source markets.
“The development promises to be an outstanding architectural project with quality meeting and exhibition facilities, retail outlets and restaurants that will open up a previously neglected area of the waterfront. The six-star hotel promise will add a level of accommodation that Sydney doesn’t currently have, and it will help to put the spotlight firmly on the city’s attractiveness as a tourism destination.
“We welcome the development and are very pleased at the bipartisan support from the Liberal and Labor parties. It signals that the Government – at long last – understands the value of tourism and is prepared to support it with actions.”