Hard Rock Eyes Queensland IR

US casino operator Hard Rock International, which is seeking a license in Japan, has also emerged as a major contender in the race for the Gold Coast’s second casino license, Gold Coast Bulletin reports.

Queensland is seeking expressions of interest for two new IRs to boost tourism and local jobs. It is already an increasingly popular destination for the key mainland China demographic. Last year, Chinese visitation grew to a record high of 503,000, surpassing half a million visitors for the first time.

Arrivals from Japan are also gaining again due to improved air services. Queensland attracts 36 percent of all Japanese visitors to Australia.

In an email to the state government, city council and Gold Coast tourism leaders, Hard Rock reportedly flagged its plan for an “entertainment-centric” integrated resort, promising to be different from the “mould.”

“We believe Queensland has a strong market potential for a new product paradigm, one that is more entertainment-centric, not merely in physical amenities themselves but how they are delivered to customers,” wrote Edward Tracy, CEO for Asia Pacific of Hard Rock International.

“People flock to the Hard Rock because of the lifestyle element the brand exudes. The casino is but one among a plethora of entertainment options.”

Speaking to the Bulletin, Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the government had not changed its position as to the kind of operator it was looking for.

“When we go to market on the Gold Coast, we’re making it clear that the focus should be on big-name entertainment, bringing the likes of Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and Jennifer Lopez to the Coast to perform,’’ she said. (AGB)