The Queensland holiday crisis has claimed its first major victim with the sudden closure of the Bale Resort in Port Douglas near Cairns. It would be easy to blame the resort’s failure on bad publicity surrounding cyclones and flooding. But the truth is that Far North Queensland tourism has been under performing for years. International visitors don’t go there in the numbers they once did while domestic visitors are choosing to take their tropical holidays elsewhere.
According to The Australian: “In the boom, developers The Ray Group and failed company MFS (now Octaviar) promised that the $130 million resort would become the pride of Port Douglas, with guests paying a minimum of $1000 a night and investors securing returns of as much as 7 per cent. But the 50-odd owners who bought into the development have instead seen room rates fall to as little as $200, which meant once bills were paid they were effectively paying guests to stay at the property.
“Resort operator Mantra has distanced itself from the closure, saying that it had no interest in the owner of the resort’s management rights, Port Douglas Resorts Pty Ltd.”