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Cairns wet season behind revenue dip

Mon, Aug 26, 12:52pm by Staff Writer

An extraordinary wet season and global economic jitters have helped wipe more than two-thirds from the Reef Casino Trust’s first-half profit, though the result was slightly better than forecast at the Cairns-based complex.

Shepparton News reports the trust said its net profit fell by 69 per cent to $755,000 in the six months to June 30, down from $2.42 million a year ago, while revenue dipped by 27 per cent to $7.6 million amid exceptionally weak visitor numbers to North Queensland.

The result was, however, slightly better than last month’s revised guidance, which had been raised on improved rental income from the Reef Hotel Casino during June.

The casino’s chief executive, Alan Tan, said on Friday the result had been weighed down by a softness in Cairns tourism not seen for a number of years.

He said a decline in both international and domestic visitors had been exacerbated by weak consumer spending, general anxiety around the federal election result, and an increase in rival accommodation options.

A poor Chinese New Year season also drove a 5.9 per cent decline in Chinese visitation to Queensland in the year to March, which the casino said had reduced the number of premium players.

Mr Tan said the US-China trade war also played a part.

Overall casino revenues were 24.6 per cent lower than last year.

Nonetheless, the trust’s distributable profit was also slightly higher than forecast at $1.55 million despite falling 69 per cent from $48.4 million.

The trust will pay an interim distribution of 3.04 unfranked cents per unit, down from last year’s 9.71 per cent interim distribution.

The trust said it had enjoyed a better start to the second half of the year as “high tourist season” approached but economic and trading conditions in Cairns remained muted.

“The Reef Hotel Casino’s management strategy is to tightly manage performance under challenging conditions based on three key strategic areas – electronic gaming, table games and hotel operations,” chairman Richard Haire said.

Jobs boost if Cairns Global Tourism Hub goes ahead

A Global Tourism Hub in Cairns will create thousands of jobs, the Mirage News reports.

New economic modeling released on Wednesday shows that as many as 2,300 jobs will be created if the project goes ahead in tropical North Queensland.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said Price Waterhouse Cooper’s Tropical North GTH economic impact analysis shows a hub in the under utilized Ports North precinct could attract between 50,000 and 500,000 extra tourists a year once it is fully operational.

Ms Jones said the report also showed between 150,000 to 300,000 visitors would likely stay longer in tropical North Queensland as a result of a Global Tourism Hub.

“New infrastructure that will attract thousands of extra tourists to Tropical North Queensland and is crucial when it comes to growing our tourism industry,” she said.

“This report draws on the experiences of Singapore, Macau, Melbourne and Perth in their developments attracting additional visitors and increasing visitor night numbers.

“It gives us a genuine indication of what’s on offer as we seek more tourists who stay longer and spend more money in Cairns.”

The 4.4 hectare Ports North site is in the heart of the Cairns tourism precinct – strategically located near major tourism drawcards – the cruise liner terminal, convention centre and marina.

The Trinity Inlet Wharf proposal incorporates premium hotels, residential accommodation, commercial and retail leases, convention facilities and a casino.

Tourism boost, jobs and casino part of the plan

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said at peak construction, the project could create between 470 and 620 jobs.

“This report also shows that a Global Tourism Hub could grow the gross regional product in Cairns by $70 million to $95 million a year,” he said.

Mr Healy said Price Waterhouse Cooper estimated over a 30-year period that the total impact of the project on the Gross Regional Product of the Cairns economy was between $540 million and $2 billion.


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