Gold Coast council knocks back request for $4m tourism marketing boost

The Gold Coast city council has rejected a call for a tourism marketing boost describing the pitch as “underwhelming”.

Destination Gold Coast had asked for an extra $4.1 million to help the city recoup the $4.3 billion hit it has suffered since the Covid-19 restrictions.

“Destination Gold Coast thanks City of Gold Coast for ongoing funding support for tourism marketing and we look forward to working together to revive our city’s biggest economic driver,” Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

“Having foreshadowed the desperate position the city’s tourism sector would be in as a result of COVID-19, Destination Gold Coast has proactively saved $7.2 million since February to lead the city’s tourism recovery.

“We take seriously the responsibility of investing public funds and being able to demonstrate a strong return on investment to the tourism sector.”

But business groups were less sanguine, describing the snub as “deeply disappointing”.

“We would have like to see some attempt to subsidise (airline) transport to bring more people here in the same way which has been done by other cities,” Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce president Martin Hall told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

“It is deeply disappointing and in the absence of major events, there are not a lot of drawcards, other than the theme parks.”

Mayor Tom Tate advised the tourism body to rethink its pitch.

‘The business model was underwhelming and it didn’t convince me to use more ratepayers funds because it did not say how you are getting a return on investment,” he said.

“The market has changed and while borders are closed there are no international travellers. You don’t need to do international trips. Top marks to Destination Gold Coast, they stopped their spend. They already have $7.5 million in their reserves.”