Vacancy: Moreton Bay calls for more hotel investment

Published 17 June 2022

Image of Eatons Hill Hotel

Moreton Bay has become so popular with visitors, it needs up to eight new branded hotels to cope with demand.

A surging tourism market means Moreton Bay now sees double the number of annual visitors that Noosa does, but there’s a lack of accommodation where those people can stay.

Mayor Peter Flannery has taken the challenge straight to the top, attending the Australasian Hotels Industry Conference & Exhibition in Adelaide to try attracting well-heeled investors.

“I want to be on the front foot before the Olympics and have a goal of attracting internationally branded hotels here over the next decade - that’s eight hotels and 1,400 more hotel rooms,” he said.

“We welcomed 4.3 million visitors in 2021 and had 2.4 million visitor nights, but Moreton Bay has a significantly undersupply of rooms to support the needs of a growing economy.

“We currently only have 204 full-service rooms which has been exposed by a growing number of major events, festivals and sporting events such as KiteFest, the NRLW Grand Final, Abbey Festival, Jetty-2-Jetty, Taste of Moreton Bay Food & Wine Feastival, and many more.

“In 2021-22, Council sponsored more 33 events, which injected an estimated $5.4 million into the local economy in additional visitor spending and delivering $10.1 million in media value.

“Moreton Bay is no longer the best kept secret of South East Queensland for tourists thanks to our amazing assets, from our beaches and bay along Bribie Island and the Redcliffe Peninsula to our stunning hinterland and mountain ranges to the west.

“We’re also fast becoming an alternative sporting destination in Australia for national and international teams, with The Dolphins set to join the NRL in 2023, the New Zealand Warriors calling Redcliffe home for season 2022 and hosting lawn bowls and football teams such as the Brisbane Roar, among others.

“The smart money is already investing in Moreton Bay and we’re seeing big commitments to key infrastructure ahead of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games to help manage our surging population.”

Council has identified opportunities including:

  • 180 rooms at North Lakes as commercial, retail and health precincts are established and expanded
  • 475 rooms at Redcliffe to cater for leisure activities, sports, conferences and events
  • Up to 200 rooms at The Mill at Moreton Bay as development there continues, connected to the Olympics
  • 340 rooms at South Pine Sports Complex
  • 100 rooms at Caboolture for health, education and commercial travellers.

Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism CEO Shane Newcombe said there is a significant opportunity for early entry hotel investors to establish their presence in an uncrowded marketplace.

“Conversions of day visitors into overnight visitors to help grow the economy is hugely important and the supply of the right type of accommodation in the right location to meet unmet demand is essential to achieving this,” Mr Newcombe said.

“Moreton Bay primarily has small-scale accommodation operators who have traditionally geared their businesses to service the leisure market, rather than the demands of corporate, conference and sports group visitors.

“Trends suggest having more hotels geared to business and conference visitors will greatly boost stays midweek and during tradition off-peak periods, and get business visitors to stay overnight here, rather than travelling outside of the region.

Council offers support to investors - as part of the Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS), that will create 100,000 more jobs by 2041 as the region becomes a $40 billion economy.

Mayor Flannery said tourism, sport and major events is a key priority for strategically growing the regional economy, alongside advanced manufacturing, food and agribusiness and knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Major projects are taking shape, including The Mill at Moreton Bay, incorporating 65ha of development potential - twice the size of the Brisbane CBD - and more than 110ha of rehabilitated open space which will include future tourism and recreation opportunities,” Mayor Flannery said.

“The University of the Sunshine Coast has established Queensland’s newest campus at The Mill at Moreton Bay, expected to educate more than 10,000 students in its first 10 years and 25,000 in the long term.

“Work is underway on North Harbour Marina, a 570ha waterfront precinct with 400 marina berths, 2,000 residences, shops, dining and entertainment offerings, that’s expected to create up to 7,000 jobs and inject $707 million into the Moreton Bay region annually.

“And we are creating a city vision that reimagines what Moreton Bay can become, harnessing our assets as a region, setting a clear direction for the future and balancing our natural spaces with the needs of a growing population and increased visitor numbers.”