Changing perceptions is a constant challenge for City of Gold Coast as we nurture our reputation as a global tourist destination.
Our international visitation is growing at more than 8 per cent, which is fantastic, and to maintain our popularity we must always enhance, expand, and evolve our tourism attractions. This is a key factor in our rapidly growing cultural tourism portfolio.
There are some great upcoming events, with the Gold Coast Film Festival almost upon us. Now in its 17th year, there is something for everyone. Don’t believe me? Then try Horror in the Hinterland or Blind Cinema — both terrific experiences. Check the festival website for full details.
This year, too, Bleach* has become the Gold Coast Festival, and between 17 and 28 April you can delight your senses with a stunning array of entertainment that is world-class. Not only is Bleach* gaining a national reputation, it is starting to draw international visitors as well. I love it!
And for a more traditional celebration of our beach culture and classic cars, music, and dancing from way back when, check out Cooly Rocks On. It’s a trip down memory lane and serves to remind us in a fun and nostalgic way of how life on the Gold Coast used to be. Kick up your heels and have some fun.
I can also let you know that preparations are well underway for the city’s next budget to be handed down in June. Over the past month, we have been getting feedback from locals about what they see as their preferred priorities for spending over the 2018–19 financial year.
Traffic congestion appears to be the number one priority and, as I have already announced, well over $100 million will be allocated to roadworks in the coming financial year. And let me also make clear that while I remain committed to bringing Port of Gold Coast to life, it will be funded by the private sector, not ratepayers.
But the benefits to the Gold Coast of the fastest-growing tourism sector in the world are massive. Promotion of cruises will spread our promotional campaigns around the globe, and the visitor spend from the tourist influx will strengthen our local economy.
As finalisation of The Spit master plan process draws to a close, we are getting nearer to a commencement of beautification works to enable full realisation of this exceptional natural asset’s potential as a green oasis.
It is an exciting time in our city’s history as we remain a hot spot across the nation for desirable living, with great opportunities, outstanding educational facilities, and lifestyle choices to dream about. I love this place and hope you enjoy it, too.
Tom Tate, City of Gold Coast Mayor