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Whole new ball games

A Queensland 2032 Olympics and Paralympics would create a gravitational pull that would draw the best and brightest to our region, visitor market – Gina – in ways the Commonwealth Games never could, the state’s biggest tourism investor says.

The Star Entertainment Group managing director Matt Bekier, whose group is part of the $3.6 billion Queen’s Wharf project and the massive re­-vamp of the former Jupiters on the Gold Coast, said that the Olympics would showcase Queensland and turbocharge the Chinese tourism market.

The SEQ Council of Mayors proposed a Games bid to fast-track new roads and rails with a feasibility study that gathered momentum on the back of The Courier-Mails Future SEQ campaign. In June The Courier-Mail and sister SEQ mastheads officially backed the bid with front-page editorials. Premier Annastaica Palaszczuk Monday announced that Queensland was going for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics, won over by projections showing billions of dollars extra would pour into the state economy and the creation of another 129,000 jobs.

Mr Bekier said the chance to attract more tourists started years ahead of the Games “The TV and broadcasting rights are truly global…so from an opportunity to showcase Queensland as a tourism destination, there is nothing like it.” Mr Bekier said.

“We are the largest investor in tourism in Queensland right now and so the opportunity to associate ourselves with an event like that will change the perception of Queensland in the mind of the global tourists is a unique opportunity.”

Mr Bekier said the Olympics resonated with Asian markets in a way the Commonwealth Games could not “And the Asian market is the key market for tourism,” he said an event like this will Crystallise a lot of demand both in the lead-up, but then also afterwards, because it will be all over the TV screens for an extended period of time.

“If we can make it truly welcoming to a global audience of visitors, we will have…years of strong demand growth.” Mr Bekier said Chinese travellers were the highest­ spending nationality of tourists already visiting Queensland.

The SEQ 2032 leadership group – Prime Minister Scott Morrison”s representative Fairfax MP Ted O’Brien. Premier Palaszczuk, AOC president John Coates, Minis­ter Kate Jones, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Sun­ shine Coast Mayor Mark Jami­eson – are expected to meet today to formally kick off the hosting bid process.

The Infrastructure Association of Queensland said the Games and associated City Deal were the perfect vehicles to get desperately needed new roads, rail, and digital infrastructure moving. “Bidding for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics is an incredibly encouraging step for our industry- during an era where it has faced many challenges” IAQ Cheif executive officer, Priclia Radice said.

“Great potential exists for the City Deal – Currently under negotiation between federal governments, and SEQ local councils to provide a pragmatic and immediate vehicle for the Olympics infrastructure.

“Critically, the bid is a catalyst in building the sustainable infrastructure we need.”

Dan Knowles, Future SEQ editor, Courier Mail