Existing operators say planned hotel will cause oversupply of rooms Rivals slam door on Hilton
SOME of Townsville’s biggest hotel operators have warned they will lose millions of dollars in revenue and jobs if a new hotel is built without increasing visitor numbers to the city.
They have also questioned what incentives Townsville City Council will provide for a proposed Hilton DoubleTree hotel alongside the new stadium and why a large worldclass convention centre is not the main game. IT’S an event unique to Townsville that sees the convergence of indigenous people with Papua New Guineans, refugees and many different cultures in the Australian community.
Thousands of people are expected to visit the Townsville Cultural Festival, a showcase of Australian diversity including music, food, arts and culture from across the world that kicked off yesterday.
A fire was lit by an indigenous group yesterday which will burn for the duration of the five- day festival
But Townsville Deputy Mayor Les Walker says Hilton has identified a gap in the high- end market and that a business case into an entertainment and exhibition centre has been funded by the State Government under the Townsville City Deal.
At least three members of the Townsville Major Accommodation Providers group spoke out about Hilton’s plans.
Grand Hotel general manager Troy Scott said Townsville had one of the worstperforming hotel markets in the country with a significant oversupply of rooms.
“The suggestion that — officially starting the 23rd year of the annual event. Last night the grounds of the festival at James Cook University featured a traditional hut made of paperbark next to a fire, with jewellery and Aboriginal carving and craft stalls nearby and traditional healers next to an ice cream parlour.
Festival executive director Dr Farvardin Daliri said the Aboriginal community had started cooking food.
“We have 10 PNG groups and representatives from most of the Pacific nations,” he said.
“There is decoration, all sorts of art and many types of healers – from sound healing to reiki healing. Townsville needs another 4.5star hotel is incorrect and will actually cost current investors and hotel operations millions of dollars annually and in turn will risk jobs,” Mr Scott said.
General manager of the Mercure Townsville Steve Wellsteed and general manager of the Grand Chancellor Paul Gray said they shared Mr Scott’s concern.
“The crucial issue is around visitation,” Mr Wellsteed said.
“We welcome new development if there is a huge increase in visitation to the region but we haven’t seen any evidence of that in the last few years.” The group said Townsville had not sold out of hotel
“Every second step you find another variety of Queenslanders from the North.
“And others have from as far as Sydney.
“The local community has very much rallied around this and there is truly a sense of unity here.
“There is an animal farm and country music along with traditional and exotic artists and paintings.”
Dr Daliri said it was the combination of things that made it a magical experience.
“We have all the colours on display and you can’t see this anywhere else. It’s absolutely mind- blowing.” travelled here rooms on any day in the past five years and occupancy had been 60.3 per cent in the past year. Based on a new 175- bed hotel achieving market average occupancy and with static visitation, they said existing hotels would lose $ 360,000 in revenue for every 100 rooms they offered.
Mr Scott agreed that real issue was visitation.
“Moving the stadium to the CBD is great for our city on many aspects, however, there must be a clear and active events strategy to utilise this asset every day of the year outside of Cowboys home games,” Mr Scott said. “The right piece of infrastructure for the city is the
He said there were 27 food stalls with exotic cuisine such as Greek, Afghan and Somali.
Last night featured the traditional welcome to country event and opening ceremony.
A group of medical students from James Cook University who embrace their traditional roots by spreading cultural awareness by dance known as the Desi Girls also performed.
Today’s schedule features a Bollywood concert and tomorrow indigenous Australian musician Stanley Gawurra will perform.
The weekend schedule is packed with dance and choir groups. not a new hotel in isolation but a large, world- class convention centre to bring people to our region.”
Cr Walker said the fact that the Hilton Group was interested in investing in Townsville should only be seen as a major positive for the city.
“The MOU announcement is the best possible example of how the new stadium and our plans for Townsville are attracting the attention of investors,” Cr Walker said.
On incentives, Cr Walker said the council would negotiate terms and conditions, as was afforded any developer, that offered the best outcome for the community.
SOULFUL: Gilaine Kwizera from Congo is part of the Singing Blessing Team which will perform at the Cultural Festival.