High-end market flying by Bundy as there's nowhere to stay
A SHORTFALL of five-star accommodation in Bundaberg is deterring high-end international tourists and business people from staying here.
Bundy is the gateway to the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef and home to international companies, including Bundaberg Rum and Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, as well as world as the world-famous Mon Repos turtle rookery.
Bundaberg Deputy Mayor Bill Trevor and Bundaberg Tourism general manager Katherine Reid both say Bundy is in desperate need of five-star accommodation.
Cr Trevor said a large group of "high-end" international visitors recently came to the region but refused to stay overnight because the region's existing accommodation could not meet their needs.
The NewsMail understands the group is accustomed to staying in luxurious settings - something the region lacks.
Cr Trevor said the council had invested in a $30 million Multiplex capable of holding large conferences to attract business people from all over the nation.
But, he said, Bundy was let down by not having a "big accommodation" offering.
Ms Reid said the absence of five-star hotels did leave a hole in the tourism market.
"Yes, the region is in need of a four- to five-star accommodation offering and this was emphasised to us especially when we are promoting the destination at international and domestic trade events, as well as for the conference and event market," Ms Reid said.
"We have no five-star rated accommodation and limited four-star and are desperate for investment in accommodation in the region to match our extraordinary visitor experiences," she said.
LJ Hooker Bundaberg real estate principal Jonathon Olsen agreed there was an opportunity for a large hotel chain to enter the Bundaberg market, especially the CBD.
He said there was limited supply, and said the nicest accommodation for visitors was at Bargara.
Last year, Estilo Groups announced it would build a $25-million, 120-bed hotel next to Brothers Sports Club on Takalvan St near the airport.
Yesterday a representative said construction was due to start later this year, hopefully to finish next year.
As well-appointed as it will be, it is not expected to be at the level of luxury demanding by the high-end market.