THAI hospitality giant Dusit International officially entered the Australian market yesterday, signing off to build the $550 million Brookwater Golf and Spa resort.
The 5-star international resort is set to position the city as a major international tourist destination for South-East Asian visitors and a major attraction in domestic tourism.
The Dusit hotel chain has been operating since 1948 with 23 hotels throughout Thailand, United Arab Emirates, China, the Philippines, Egypt, India, Kenya and the Maldives.
Speaking at Brookwater yesterday the company's chief executive Chanin Donavanik said south-east Queensland was the fastest-growing market for South-East Asian tourists with proximity to the Gold Coast and the Brookwater golf course the key attractions.
"We are building in Vietnam, we are building in the Philippines and we have a hotel coming up in Singapore so it would be good for us to move a little bit further south," Mr Donavanik said.
"We had the choice to go to Sydney or Melbourne and we feel that this market now has the best potential. Because when South-East Asian people, people from China, come to Australia they like to go to a bit more of a relaxed place than a city.
"This is not too far, it's about a seven hour flight from Singapore and I think you are going to see a lot more Asian (tourists) coming."
Dusit International's chief operating officer David Shackleton said the company's first hotel in Australia could not have had a better planned location than Brookwater.
"The hotel resort being situated between Brisbane and the Gold Coast provides, I believe, huge potential for this market," he said.
"When we look at not just the overseas market but the local market that visits Queensland and visits the Gold Coast we see huge potential."
He said South-East Asian tourism had increased 19% this year, with 12% of that increase being from China.
"The Chinese are the largest spenders when they actually arrive in Australia and they are spending about 7000 Australian dollar per head."
He said the region's pre-Commonwealth Games events and Commonwealth Games would help make the resort a success.
"Tourism now makes up almost 3% of GDP. There's a great opportunity I believe to lift our tourism numbers into this area.
"We are very fortunate to have most of our development in South-East Asia and in China but also in the United Arab Emirates.
"We are everywhere I believe that this resort needs to draw from," Mr Shackleton said.
Springfield Land Corporation deputy chairman Bob Sharpless said the location and opportunity around Brookwater golf course demanded a world-class international resort.
"This is a world-class operator who understands the Australian market," Mr Sharpless said.
"They could be anywhere in Australia. They chose Brookwater."
Brookwater Resort Investments CEO Richard Turner said the Dusit Thani Resort would be Australia's first fully integrated golf, spa, retail, leisure, dining and recreation resort.
"The best resorts in the world don't sit necessarily on beautiful islands and on the beaches of South America. They sit where they have a large captive audience where they can sell their products and services into the market and where they can train the local community to give the best service and that's what we're all about," Mr Turner said.
- 520 resort apartments
- convention centre
- retail mall
- tennis club and stadium
- water park
- day spa
- 24 restaurants
- hospitality college incorporating Swiss, Japanese and Italian culinary schools