Tourism boss tips huge global boom
GOLD Coast businessman Bob East believes Australia will be the best positioned nation in the world to take advantage of an expected boom in global travel between now and 2030.
“We will knock it out of the ballpark. We will kill it,’’ the new chairman of Tourism Australia told a business lunch in Brisbane last week.
About 1.2 billion people around the world travel each year, with that number set to swell by an additional 2.5 billion by 2030, Mr East said.
A huge percentage of that surge will come from China’s growing middle class, where just 6 per cent of the population has a passport today.
Mr East, who is also managing director of Mantra Group, said Australia needed to sell itself as a safe, clean and green destination which could offer authentic experiences and caring service.
In a bid to drive this message home, he hopes to unveil a new promotional campaign in about six months to allow Australia to capitalise on a “massive opportunity’’.
Mr East was picked to head Tourism Australia earlier this month after spending two years at the helm of Tourism and Events Queensland.
His tenure will coincide with next year’s Commonwealth Games, which Mantra hopes will put a rocket up its earnings in such well-known brands as Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree.
The company, one of the nation’s biggest accommodation providers, expects the Commonwealth Games will bolster its fortunes on the Gold Coast, where it has about 5000 rooms.
Despite last year’s Dreamworld tragedy, which has put a dampener on tourism on the Gold Coast, Mantra generated a 23 per cent lift in net profit last year to $45.6 million.
The group’s star performer was the resort division, where revenue shot up nearly 30 per cent.
This included a solid result from Mantra’s recently acquired 1176-room Ala Moana Hotel in Hawaii, one of six properties bought last year.
By contrast, the company’s Australian capital CBD hotels had a patchy run.
Brisbane, Perth and Darwin markets suffered losses, which were balanced out by stronger growth in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Hobart.
In the year ahead, Mantra will focus on integrating 18 contracted properties in its acquisitions pipeline.
Among these is the Art Series Hotel Group, which is expected to settle in late 2017.
The $52.5 million deal announced last month will add more than 1000 suites and apartments to Mantra’s group, bolstering its presence in the luxury market.
HIGH HOPES: Mantra CEO Bob East is betting on a tourism boom in Australia.