Thai hotel and resort company Dusit Group has launched the development of a $550 million golf and spa resort in Springfield, Queensland.
The resort development, backed by investment from China and the Middle East, marks a first for the Thailand-based hotel chain, with the initial $110 million first phase likely to be complete in 2016.
The initial stage offers 168 luxury resort apartments overlooking the Greg Norman-designed Brookwater Golf Course and will be known as the Dusit Thani Brookwater Gold and Spa Resort at First Residence.
Dusit Group executives say the location of the resort between high demand markets of Brisbane and the Gold Coast as well as the Springfield district, was a “huge advantage”.
The first phase of the development includes beach-style lagoon pools, lap pools, water slides, a gymnasium, bridal centre and wedding chapel.
Ryan Chen, director of development for Dusit Asia Pacific, said the hotel chain’s entry into Australia highlighted the “great potential” especially from travellers within Southeast Asia, “who are very familiar with Australia”.
“Over the last 12 to 18 months for us in Thailand we have been (assessing) new developments coming up, especially in places like Melbourne and Sydney and Brisbane as well,” Mr Chen said.
Australia is also seen as an attractive investment opportunity due to the country’s inherent stability.
But he added the Australian hotel industry appeared to have stagnated in recent years with “not much activity”, and following a downturn in tourism after the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
The development is backed by Abu Dhabi investment company World Group (UK) and Hong Kong-based Maxsen Capital Group.
The Dusit Group is currently planning a major expansion of its hotel brand throughout China.
Asian travellers looked to Australia as an alternative from the Asian continent, and were set to be buoyed by “greater air connectivity”.
But Mr Chen says Australia needed to target high value travellers rather than “going after the numbers game”.
He said if Australia “can do it well” the country’s tourism industry could benefit over the “next few years or so”.
The Dusit hotel chain, one of the oldest in Thailand, currently oversees 24 properties under management ranging from China, Egypt, Kenya, the Maldives, the Philippines, the United States and the UAE.