An Asian cruise line has made inquiries about acquiring a Queensland island as a private playground for its passengers, it has been revealed.
Heron Island, last traded for $42 million and on sale since late last year, would give passengers premium access to the Great Barrier Reef.
Gladstone tourism manager Karen Sweeney confirmed to Cruise Passenger she received an approach in March from a company representative. She could not name the cruise line but said they wanted access to the Barrier Reef.
She advised buying the resort as any other access would not be exclusive. “I think it would be fabulous to give this kind of access to the area,” she said.
The move would be a first for Australia and Asia.
In the Caribbean a number of cruise lines like MSC, Disney, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean own islands where guests can spend time away from the ship on beaches and cafes.
It would represent a logical step for our growing homeported ship fleet to have an island home – though whether an Asian line buying space on the Barrier Reef could cause controversy remains to be seen.
The island sale is being handled by JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group’s Andrew Langsford, he who has already said there has been foreign interest because of the low Australian dollar.
“The low Australian dollar and continuing revival in both inbound and domestic leisure demand has proved a positive trend for the Great Barrier Reef’s unique leisure destinations, “ Mr Langsford says.
He could not be reached for comment today.
Ms Sweeney said demand from cruise lines in Queensland grew 15.5 per cent last year, and all were looking for solutions to capacity issues.
Ms Sweeney was quoted in a local newspaper as saying she received calls from cruise line giants desperate to know if Gladstone’s port can fit ships with 6,000 passengers.