This South Stradbroke Island resort has 358 accommodation units - hotel suites, villas, cabins, and marine lodges - of which 158 are unsold, and approval is in place for a further 212 units and a yacht club. The resort has two restaurants, conference venues, function rooms, two gyms, running track, pool, waterfront building, surf club, jetties and 102 marina berths.
It was believed that the Couran Cove resort will be rebranded to give it market recognition and enable quick sales of units to create critical mass and cut holding costs and turning it from not just a resort but more a city suburb.
The Whitsundays too has seen tourism resorts close and none more so classic than the Laguna Quays Resort whose associated fame was associated with golf, and it closed in March this year.
The Townsville Bulletin provided an overview of the project in January 2011explaining that in 1997, Mr David Marriner and fund Cbus acquired Laguna Quays from Village Roadshow for $13 million, as the developer acquired Cbus's interest, gaining full control of the resort in 2002, he announced a $1 billion development plan for the holding. (www.townsvillebulletin.com.au)
The on the 14 July this year (2012) the same newspaper headlined Laguna Quays resort as the "The dud of all duds!" Daniel Bateman wrote: "Welcome to Club Dread. Once regarded as a jewel in the crown of the Whitsundays' resorts, Laguna Quays is no longer the beacon of opulence that opened 50km south of Airlie Beach, about 20 years ago.
The former luxury property has fallen upon ruin, with weeds allowed to climb up balconies and spill into rooms, and the spectacular pool now resembling a swamp. The resort, which closed its doors, once employed 230 staff including 20 greenkeepers. It had a 60-room golf lodge, 81 condominiums and villas, a racquet club, huge lagoon pool, and a 70-berth marina. Now, according to property owner David Marriner, Laguna Quays is "the dud of all duds."
Word is about that Laguna Quays resort too might be headed as a housing development, in this instance, for the Bowen Basin's mining community.
The Courier Mail recently had this major feature on how island resorts are proving to be a riches to rags investment story citing case after case of such calamity. (www.couriermail.com.au)
The obvious question is to ask what is happening to the the "resort" world where clearly some resorts are reaping a gold mine and have bookings come out of their ears, even in difficult times, whereas others have simply not made the grade.
An acquaintance of ours was the Manager of a major Island Resort out from Gladstone and had it humming. He moved-on due to company rules that prevented him from having permanently a new born baby at the Resort. The company, who realised how effective he was, have since contacted him and said they will make a position available elsewhere whenever.
Australia is known as a resort destination and its tourism brand within the country is as important as it is to foreign climes. The resort industry boasts its accommodation and accompanying comforts within the rooms and the surrounds as described above. A wider reading on the issue suggests three significant components to this question.
Location and niche
Location and niche go hand in hand. Location alone is not enough. The niche market of activities and things to do and see in that specific region is not enough on its own. People can always stay in an inexpensive motel, bed and breakfast, whatever. The resort industry succeeds best when these function together.
If the resort's upkeep is not obviously in tune with the location and niche market, word gets around with untimely speed, faster than Email and text. People talk and everything can be perfect except one specific things associated with upkeep, and all the work over the 95% goes to naught.
In my years as the Australian cricket team chaplain, I can recall seeing the Laguna Quays Resort banner at one of the major cricket grounds and when the cricket was on television. In its hey day, golfers came from around the world to play at Laguna Quays and the airport plan was to see this engender even further. The tourism industry is well aware that resorts are in the business of promoting themselves.
There are many aspects to Tourism Ministry and chaplains at resorts is one of them. James Packer's new Sydney casino plans saw him visiting the the Honourable Reverend Fred Nile MLA and one of the conditions for him to give it the nod as a city development, was that a Christian chaplain be part of the project.
The tourism ministry chaplains see the distressing side of resorts where staff get laid off, mortgage stress comes into play, and associated issues with family members. Likewise those who comes to resorts to escape from personal issues associated with family or finance.
Tourism Ministry is one of those far reaching exciting challenging ministries that operates in the 'nether' rather than the 'cloisters' of the church and we rejoice in such adventures in the heart-releasing Gospel.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html