The reopening of Hayman Island as an InterContinental will boost competition in North Queensland.

Holidays under the perpetually warm Queensland sun are expected to be a major driving force in Australia’s tourism industry in 2019, as the state significantly raises its game to cater to luxury-seekers.

That is one of the key predictions from hotel asset manager and real estate broker CBRE Hotels, which cited the low Australian dollar as a catalyst to driving up domestic tourism as medium and long-haul overseas options become less affordable.

Recent months past and the first half of 2019 has seen a significant upshift in the scale, variety and grandeur of North Queensland hotel options as ‘Riley’, the first of three new five-star options from the Crystalbrook Collection opened in Cairns. The opening was the city’s first ever five-star product and first major new hotel product in over two decades and reflected the scale of the associated $500 million investment from Dubai’s GA Group. Sister properties ‘Bailey’ and ‘Flynn’ are on track to open in the middle and latter months of 2019 respectively.

In addition, the reopenings of Daydream Island and Hayman Island in the Whitsundays will provide fresh competition for the likes of Hamilton Island and qualia in the state’s far north. Work is also expected to continue on Great Keppel Island and Dunk Island to further prepare the once-popular destinations for future revivals.

The lagoon-style swimming pool at Cairns’ new five-star Crystalbrook Collection resort, ‘Riley’.

CBRE Hotels’ National Director Wayne Bunz said nearly half of new hotel stock which opened in 2018 were situated in Queensland, with the Sunshine State on track to enjoy a similarly buoyant year to come in 2019.

“Queensland now has some of the best luxury brands in Australia. In Brisbane, the luxury gap has been filled by a number of new openings this year – many of which represent true 5 star offerings not previously seen in Australia.

“This is clearly evidenced by new hotels in Brisbane, including the Calile Hotel, W Hotel, the Emporium and Ovolo The Valley,” Bunz added.

Conversely, growing housing supply in the capital cities of Melbourne and Sydney are creating suggestions the short-term letting market may be shaping for an influx in new inventory – a move which may put pressure on hotel room prices. CBRE said it expects hotels in Australia’s two biggest cities to weather the storm but not without breaking a sweat or two.

Bunz added he did not expect to see any movement in the Sydney hotel real estate market for some time to come as owners held on to assets in a very limited investment market. Opportunities which do become available are tipped to stimulate a buying frenzy with record prices per key expected.