Casino for Whitsunday
Would gamble pay off?
Over the last year, Asian financiers most notably from China but interestingly Vietnam have considered investments in Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday region. Major casino player James Packer has had his eye and at times his yacht on Hamilton Island.
The Australian economy benefits enormously from the proximity of growing Asia Pacific markets and none is bigger than China.
In a few short years, there have been massive benefits to Australia from Chinese tourism; up to AU$9billion per year by 2020 predicts Tourism Australia.
Casino development is a competitive market in Australia with billionaire James Packer and a host of other big names vying to spend $6 billion on the new Barangaroo development in NSW. Packer has a 46 per cent share of Crown Casinos and said this week "I am not prepared to dilute my shareholding" in reference to the control battle for Echo Entertainments Group that operates four hotel and casino complexes, The Star in Sydney, Jupiters Hotel & Casino on the Gold Coast, Treasury Casino & Hotel in Brisbane and Jupiters Townsville.
The bad news for Whitsunday is that the major lure for Chinese tourists is not the Great Barrier Reef and sailing the Whitsunday Islands.
The drawcard is more Australia's exceptional range of excellent casinos and all the luxuries that come with them such as Melbourne's Crown Casino and Star City Casino in Sydney.
No surprise, then, that rumours have been circulating for a while about a proposed casino development on Queensland's Sunshine Coast and recently the Whitsunday Coast.
As far back as August, Clive Palmer, owner of the Hyatt Coolum, revealed that he was considering a major redevelopment of the Hyatt site intending to create a resort that would attract a share of the International tourists that come to Australia every year to enjoy casino resorts.
Indeed, Hyatt Regency Coolum marketing director Pip Close conceded a casino would be ... "an asset to the region."
If Clive Palmer wants to fly Chinese tourists into the Sunshine Coast directly, if the Chinese want to gamble, what do you want to do to attract Chinese tourists? Build a casino that will attract more tourists.
With a few notable exceptions like Nevada, Caribbean and specific locales in Europe, casino development is a relatively recent phenomenon.
License money from a casino on the Whitsunday Coast should be invested in projects designed to draw tourists and other business to the region.
Time and money wasted on the now closed Laguna Quays 'big airport' concept, may have been extended Whitsunday Coast Airport to take direct international charter flights.
Hamilton Island would benefit from a boutique casino that would fit in with the new high standard accommodation and facilities on the island.
The biggest gamble is on greedy governments, state and federal, that have consistently underfunded the management of the Great Barrier Reef leading to it becoming a super ship highway and convenient dumping ground for the spoils of development.
Historic changes to CB
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (AMCA) have announced amendments to the Citizen Band Service.
UHF CB Australia Director, Ray Oaff said, "The developments include more channels available to benefit the over one million UHF users in Australia each day."
Additional channels are available by reducing their width to 12.5 kHz, relaxation of the telemetry and telecommand duty cycle, and allowing transmission of station identification and position information. A new equipment standard, (AS/NZA 4365:2010) released in January, defines a new 80 channel standard.
Court to Costa Quid
This week in the Tuscan city of Grosseto, Italian Judge Valeria Montesarchio will ask court appointed experts to examine the "black box," containing digital recordings of the grounding and sinking of the Costa Concordia off Giglio Island on January 13.
The cruise industry has changed the rules on safety drills. Before the Costa Concordia tragedy, drills were required to be held within 24 hours of passengers embarking. The new rule requires that safety drills and instruction are to be completed prior to the ship leaving port. On the Costa Concordia up to 700 passengers had embarked in Civitavecchia, the nearest port to Rome. The safety drill was scheduled for 5PM the day after the ship ran aground and sank.
Also last week, Italy banned cruise ships from sailing within 2 miles of coastlines in "environmentally sensitive" areas, ending the tradition of sailing cruise ships close to shore in what is the referred to as the inchino or bow.
Fair winds to Ye!