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Tate backs 'beach club' trial as tourism boss says Gold Coast should be 'like Bali'

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A trial to commercialise Gold Coast beaches, starting with a slice of Main Beach in front of Star Casino’s Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, is back on the cards after Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate threw support behind the option to help reboot tourism.

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The possible trial of a “classy” beach club follows calls by Destination Gold Coast chairman Paul Donovan to commercialise Gold Coast beaches like Bali to aid the tourism sector’s post-COVID-19 recovery.

Donovan said the Gold Coast needed to “keep investing and re-engineering ourselves.”

“We need to have commercialisation of the beaches, like Bali,” Donovan said on Monday as tourism bosses pitched for an extra $4.1 million in the upcoming city budget to attract domestic tourists back to the Gold Coast when travel restrictions are lifted.

“They’re not ice-cream stands under an umbrella, they’re multimillion-dollar investments on getting people to come,” he said.

Tate said Star Casino commercialising the beachfront of its Sheraton Grand Mirage would be a possible trial site.

“They (Star Entertainment Group) are talking about spending $100 million on a convention centre, they could put half a mil across here and they would make everyone happy,” he said.

The trial approach would limit commercialisation to a pocket of the Gold Coast’s pristine coastal strip. Commercialisation of Gold Coast beaches has been proposed numerous times, most recently after temporary pop-up bar at Burleigh for the 2019 Bleach Festival, but has consistently been met with fierce opposition from residents.

Star has also previously considered a beach club in front of the Sheraton Grand Mirage.

“In my thoughts that is the best part to trial – it is a spot where it is going to have class and good service,” Tate said.

“And I would say to the Star Casino, since they purchased the Sheraton, I’m happy to work with them to see if we can do commercialisation on the beach side there and have services and umbrellas.”

This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas

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