Cap Enterprise CEO on GKI and docking cruise ships
IN A letter to the editor in Saturday's Morning Bulletin, reader Mr Geoff Breen, raised his concerns about the proposed GKI marina needing "substantial blasting and dredging" for P&O Cruise ships to reach the island.
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But Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll disagrees and has sent the following response.
IN TMB Saturday, May 16, Mr Geoff Breen from Barlows Hill has misunderstood my quote regarding cruise ships unable to visit GKI due to a lack of marina and resort facilities, to assume this would require major dredging.
Keppel Bay is way too shallow for cruise ships to dock at GKI. Instead, cruise ships moor in the deeper waters and passengers are ferried to the island marina, time permitting. This practice occurs in the Whitsundays with our local Freedom Fastcats vessels formerly contracted to provide that service.
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About three years ago, Capricorn Enterprise, Freedom Fastcats, Tower Holdings and Tourism Queensland held very promising discussions with a Sydney-based cruise company, which was planning their itinerary three years in advance and wanted to include this option at Great Keppel Island. The proviso was of course that, at the very least, the marina on GKI would be complete.
Cruise ships and island resorts offer very different visitor experiences (many of us still prefer land), and the argument for awarding off-shore boutique gaming licences to Great Barrier Reef islands to keep up with global trends and visitor expectations is a valid one.
At least five brand new tourism resorts are opening in Asia this year (casinos now the 'norm'), but none to my knowledge in Australia. Why? Because we cannot compete with wages and our multiple government- layered approval processes are, arguably, the most stringent in the world.
Added to this, it costs three to four times as much to develop and operate a Great Barrier Reef Island resort in Queensland, due to the cost of providing the basic amenities like water, power, sewerage and of course the highest environmental conditions.
Any wonder why Aussies are flocking to Asia for their holidays instead of spending their money at home on some of the most clean and green islands in the world.
While most of us eagerly await the start of a resort on Great Keppel Island, we must continue to support our local businesses like Freedom Fastcats, GKI Hideaway and GKI Holiday Village who have, against all odds, managed to survive the past decade.
Mr Breen, I trust this clarifies your misunderstanding, and you are most welcome to email me direct should you require any further clarification at admin@capricorn enterprise.com.au
CEO Capricorn Enterprise