Chinese investors have teamed up with the local government in Australia’s Whitsunday Islands to expand the tourist destination’s airport and add a casino in order to boost visitor numbers.
The government has been looking to make the Proserpine airport an international level airport for a while now, and this deal with Chinese investment group, Zelong Group, paves the way for that operation to start. The funding relies on the joint venture gaining one of two local casino licenses, however.
While casinos are perfectly legal, Australian gambling laws are structured so companies need to apply for regional and local licenses before setting up shop. While it’s not 100% that this casino will be granted the license, the investors say the financial benefits for the islands will be in the region of $10 billion.
Flights and Punters Needed First
The airport still isn’t certain, however, with the local government waiting on airlines to show interest.
George Christensen said: “If the interest is there from a major airline to say yes the capacity is there at the airport, we would come in, that is then I suppose the catalyst for me to go to government and say look we need to put some investment dollars into this.”
On the casino, with Australians able to gamble at online and mobile casinos, the new development would be mainly tailored towards foreign tourists. With the profitability of Asian gambling at the moment, it’s likely that the Chinese gambling elite will be one of the sectors targeted by the investors.