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Tropical North Global Tourism Hub

On 28 October 2017, the Queensland Government announced a proposed Global Tourism Hub (GTH) for Tropical North Queensland, bringing a dynamic new tourism opportunity to the region.

Project overview

Global Tourism Hubs support major events and reinvigorate key locations and communities across the state for entertainment and recreation. The hubs are a great opportunity to attract locals and tourists to the area.

Global Tourism Hubs may include:

  • entertainment, recreational and cultural facilities
  • five- or six-star hotels
  • unique, internationally recognisable architecture with expansive high amenity public realm
  • integrated resorts, including casinos and gaming facilities
  • apartments
  • arcades, pools, salons, gyms and other recreational facilities
  • meeting and conference spaces
  • tourist attractions such as maritime museums
  • theatre and convention facilities
  • cinemas
  • boutique retail
  • celebrity chef restaurants and bars.

The state’s Vision for the Tropical North Global Tourism Hub is to:

  • Create a unique and exciting place that resonates Tropical North Queensland and further brings Tropical North Queensland to the world as a world class, “must see” tourist destination.
  • Deliver a precinct with landmark design which delivers on the concept of the “city in the rainforest” and brings the tropics to the city.
  • Connect to the Great Barrier Reef and rainforest wonders.
  • Deliver iconic architecture and infrastructure with extensive master-planned public realm.

The site

The Queensland Government has identified its preferred site for the development of the Tropical North GTH by partnering with Ports North.

Located on Port North's strategic port land within the Cityport precinct at Wharf Street, Cairns the site is approximately 4.4 hectares and spans two sites. Both sites are available as part of the project.

View a Tropical North Global Tourism Hub site map (jpg)

Economic impact analysis

PwC developed two indicative development and staging plans for a proposed Tropical North Global Tourism Hub based on market research, targeted market sounding, and experience and knowledge of the local real estate and tourism markets.

Tropical North GTH Economic impact analysis (PDF, 2.2MB)

Benefits

  • Reinvigorate key locations and communities

  • Attract locals and tourists to the area

  • Support regional jobs and investment

Timeline

30 October 2017

Registration of Interest process commenced


23 January 2018

Registration of Interest closed


11 May 2018*

Government release of Expression of Interest 
* Expression of Interest (EOI) close date amended


6 September 2018*

Expression of Interest closed
* Expression of Interest (EOI) close date amended


22 January 2019*

Request for Detailed Proposals released
* Expression of Interest (EOI) close date amended


25 June 2019*

Request for Detailed Proposals closed
* Expression of Interest (EOI) close date amended


Q3/Q4 2019**

Request for Detailed Proposals - evaluation and negotiation
** Amended to show revised future dates


Q4 2019 / Q1 2020**

Preferred Proponent announced and contract documents signed
** Amended to show revised future dates


Q3/Q4 2020

Construction anticipated to commence

Frequently asked questions

  • What are the objectives of the Tropical North Global Tourism Hub (GTH)?

    • The objectives of the Tropical North GTH project are to:
    • Deliver new 5 or 6 star hotels to Cairns to drive new tourism investment in the city and Tropical North Queensland.
    • Provide Cairns and Tropical North Queensland with an entertainment precinct, to provide the increased attraction for a wide range of tourists to visit.
    • Stimulate broad investment and economic development in Tropical North Queensland, focusing on job creation, tourism, culture, events, entertainment, food, and hospitality.
    • Stimulate the property and construction sectors of Tropical North Queensland to drive the next major phase of the city’s and region’s economic development.
    • Transform the Port of Cairns’ long-term future, complementing existing developments and drive new vigour and opportunities in its operation including; cruise shipping, superyachts, marina activities, cargo, ship works and port activities.
    • Incorporate community events and cultural activities that celebrate and support the historic cultures of Tropical North Queensland and the Torres Strait.
    • Attract more people to Cairns and Tropical North Queensland with new tourism activities, culture and events.
    • Promote social interaction and a broad range of urban activities from the city to the marina and historical wharves.
    • Obtain delivery of the Project, which is viable during its design, delivery and operation, and at no net cost or risk to the State.
  • Who is Ports North and what is the Cityport project?

    Far North Queensland Ports Corporation Limited (Ports North) is a government owned corporation with ownership and control of the Port of Cairns, and significant freehold landholdings designated as strategic port land; including waterfront land adjacent to the Cairns CBD known as Cityport.

    The Cityport project is a large-scale, mixed use, urban renewal project to redevelop the Cairns waterfront. More information about the project is available on the Ports North website.

    The Tropical North Global Tourism Hub is an extension of Ports North’s vision for the development of the waterfront in Cairns through the Cityport project. This project has been developed in close consultation with the Cairns community over the past 10 years.

  • Will the Tropical North Global Tourism Hub impact existing port operations?

    The Tropical North Global Tourism Hub will protect and support development of the Port of Cairns. The proposed waterfront area is fully contained within the existing footprint of Cityport on land owned by Ports North. The areas behind the Port of Cairns cargo wharves will not be impacted by this project and a key project objective is to protect and advance port operations in Cairns.

  • Why have you identified a preferred site in Cairns?

    The Global Tourism Hub (GTH) process is not just about delivering world-class tourism infrastructure but to also support city building in the regions.

    The preferred location in Cairns can support Cairns Regional Council’s objectives for the future development of the CBD.

    Market feedback indicates there is a strong preference for the Queensland Government to nominate land options and that for a GTH to provide the benefits sought, a prominent site is required.

  • How does the Tropical North Global Tourism Hub process work?

    The Queensland Government commenced a multi-phase procurement process for delivery of the Tropical North Global Tourism Hub (GTH) in October 2017.

    • Phase 1: Registration of Interest (ROI) – Registration by entities wishing to be considered for participation as a proponent in the process. The Registration of Interest was released 30 October 2017 and closed on 23 January 2018.
    • Phase 2: Expressions of Interest (EOI) - In May 2018, suitably qualified proponents were invited from the ROI phase to refine their proposals for the Tropical North GTH. Proponents have until September 2018 to respond with their EOI documentation. The government will assess EOI proposals and decide whether to proceed to Phase 3.
    • Phase 3: Request for Detailed Proposal (RFDP) - Shortlisted proponents from the EOI phase to further develop their concept and commercial proposal. The government will assess proposals and decide whether to proceed to Phase 4.
    • Phase 4: Preferred Proponent - Announcement of the successful proponent and negotiation of binding terms.
  • How will the Queensland Government engage with the community over the Tropical North Global Tourism Hub site?

    The first round of formal community consultation on the Tropical North Global Tourism Hub (GTH) was undertaken between 20 December 2017 and 11 February 2018. During this time members of the public were invited to ‘have their say’ on what they would like in a GTH development in the Tropical North region. The Community Consultation Report is available to view.

    A second round of formal community consultation on the project was undertaken between 8 April 2019 and 3 May 2019. To facilitate community discussion, the Queensland Government released four design exemplars (sketch ideas) for discussion. The sketch ideas were developed for illustrative purposes only and not final designs of the Tropical North Global Tourism Hub. The results of the community consultation are available to view.

    For more information, please contact:

    • Online form
    • Phone: 1800 100 424 (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm AEST)
    • Mail:
      Tourism Development Projects Division, Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development,
      PO Box 15168, City East, QLD, 4002
  • What opportunities are there for local industry/suppliers to participate in the proposed Tropical North Global Tourism Hub project?

    Engaging local industry and generating jobs are key objectives for the project, and are a high priority for the Queensland Government.

    Any successful proponent will be required to create local employment opportunities and to ensure suitable local businesses are given the opportunity to tender on work packages and identify opportunities for local industry innovation.

    The successful proponent will be required to submit a Queensland Charter for Local Content Statement of Intent to demonstrate its objectives on local industry participation.

Community engagement

We welcome your feedback on this project.

  • Online form
  • Phone: 1800 100 424 (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm AEST)
  • Mail:
    Tourism Development Projects Division,
    Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development,
    PO Box 15168, City East, QLD, 4002

Key dates, actions and engagement activities

Last updated: 11 Feb 2020