Spicing up tourism prospects with Salt
TOURISM on the Sunshine Coast can drive prosperity for Queensland after the mining boom, but only by keeping our offerings fresh.
Speaking yesterday at Tourism Noosa's inaugural summit at the Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort, appropriately named The Next Big Wave, demographer and trend spotter Bernard Salt said Noosa already had a winning formula, for now.
"One thing is the retire- ment of the Baby Boomers - and I'm one - there's five million of us and if we're not tree changing and sea changing we're 'weekendering'.
"My wife and I have been coming to Noosa since the late 1990s ... we always escape Melbourne on Melbourne Cup weekend and come up here.
"We're actually back up here in two weeks' time at the Sofitel, so any excuse to come up here.”
Mr Salt said a fly on the wall at fashionable Melb- ourne cafes listens to people talking about their Noosa weekends.
"And what they will talk about is the beach, Hastings St, the food, the walking, and the Eumundi Markets which is a little more bohemian,” he said.
Mr Salt said the only drawback was that when he was here, "half the eastern suburbs of Melbourne are here as well ... you wouldn't want to be up to anything, because your neighbours are up here”.
He said the local offering here is right with its world class amenity.
"The thing that Noosa needs to worry about is 'well we're doing pretty well, we've got a great lifestyle, the visitors keep coming, why change what ain't broken'?
"I'm not picking on Noosa, but I think an Australian malaise is the idea of complacent prosperity. The issue is the ground can shift underneath you and you wake up in 2027 and you find, you know, you're not quite hitting the market.”
He said Sofitel is a "fantastic example” of how it has managed to keep itself fresh and inviting - a factor that has kept him a regular guest for 20 years.
He sees major opportunities in aviation linkages into China via Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast Airport upgrade.
"In Noosa we have a nuan- ced market, and the nuanced market here is established world money and that would be UK, US, Germany, France, any of those European countries, New Zealand of course and Japan,” Mr Salt said.
He said the best chances for expansion was in the most westernised South East Asian countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and even Thailand or Indonesia.