A construction start is imminent on yet another CBD hotel, while Western Australia’s tourism sector is in line for a $30 million marketing boost as the state government moves to the next phase of its tourism development strategy.
Construction contractor Built Holdings is expected to start work this week on a 21-level QT Hotel at the old Greater Union cinema site on the corner of Murray and Barrack streets.
Event Hospitality also owns and operates the Rydges Hotels and Event Cinemas brands, a portfolio that comprises: 24 owned hotels and 32 managed hotels; 89 cinemas in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji; and an additional 53 cinemas in Germany.
The Barrack Street QT Hotel will have 184 rooms and 21 residential apartments.
According to tender documents, the build is estimated to be worth between $50 million and $100 million.
The hotel adds to an ever-growing surge in Perth hotel development; at last count, BNiQ Research found there were 2,198 hotel rooms under construction in 12 properties across the city.
However, approved hotel rooms outnumber those being built, with 2,768 rooms proposed for a further 13 Perth properties, including the Ritz-Carlton proposed for Elizabeth Quay, a Courtyard by Marriott on Wellington Street, and a 42-level Sheraton proposed at The New Esplanade Hotel site.
That figure does not include a hotel proposed to be built at Perth Airport, nor does it include one of the Kings Square development sites previously flagged for a 250-room Avani hotel, where the developer pulled out late last year.
Perth’s hotel boom is largely thanks to a proactive state government strategy adopted in 2012.
Developers were given the opportunity to bid for Crown land at reduced market rates, while they were also offered other incentives in the form of flexible floor space bonuses and infrastructure grants.
The government’s stated aim was to facilitate the construction of an extra 1,900 hotel rooms by 2020, to alleviate what Premier Colin Barnett said at the time was the state’s greatest constraint on tourism development.
Now the hotel requirements are seemingly taken care of, the state government is focusing its attention on marketing the state to both leisure and business travellers.
Over the weekend, the state government announced it would deliver an additional $30 million in events funding in this year’s budget.
An extra $19 million will be allocated for Perth Stadium events marketing, while $10 million in additional funds will be provided to help the Perth Convention Bureau attract major conferences.
An additional $1 million would be used to attract Chinese tourists during Chinese New Year celebrations.
"Unprecedented levels of public and private investment have resulted in some huge changes, which are making Perth and WA a great place to visit,” Mr Barnett said.
Tourism Council WA chief executive Evan Hall was also effusive in his praise for the government’s commitment, estimating the $19 million in stadium event funding alone would attract at least 250,000 international and interstate visitors.
Mr Hall said he expected the additional funding for the Perth Convention Bureau to deliver $260 million in new tourism dollars over the next four years.
Outside of the city, the state government said $20 million in Royalties for Regions funding would help facilitate the construction of the Kalbarri Skywalk, a viewing platform overlooking the Murchison River gorge.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said $14.8 million would be spent over the next two years to upgrade campgrounds and caravanning facilities across WA.
“It is important that event and tourism investment continues in WA's regions to ensure growth in the local tourism industries,” Mr Redman said in a statement.
“Tourists spend nearly $9 billion a year in WA, about half of that in the regions making it a vital component of regional WA's economy.”