The Commonwealth Games and the Gold Coast

While there is much anticipation that the 2018 Games will be a boom in general for the prosperity of the Gold Coast, a recent Griffith University study is a bit more circumspect.   It considers the benefits and downsides, cautioning that business in particular  makes decisions based on “boom” predictions, but evidence suggests that economic outcomes don’t always match expectations.

Undoubtedly there will be increased tourism demand which will result in an immediate return but, again, past experience indicates a more modest increase in revenue with, surprisingly, no real significant changes to hotel occupancy and retail sales.  The increasing popularity of Airbnb, with private owners cashing in on a budget-conscious clientele, will have no doubt have a powerful impact on commercial accommodation.

It is expected that far more positives will emerge; the increase in infrastructure allowing the Coast to position itself to obtain future sporting events and providing a training ground for the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics.  Not being a capital city where Games have been held, the Coast is not well known internationally but the occasion will allow it to significantly enhance its profile, awareness and reputation.  There are concerns however that, with events spread from Brisbane to Coolangatta, there will inevitably be challenges relating to high congestion, the distribution of benefits and disruption to communities.

While increasing real estate prices connected with the attendant confidence will benefit certain sectors, there may be a deleterious effect on low income families who will need to relocate North or West to be able to live in affordable areas.  There are concerns also of the effect of the 2,500 temporary Games residences hitting the market.  Will that depress prices?  Will spending flow on to ancillary businesses?  There will surely be an increased contribution to parts of the local economy, however,  expectations may not accord with outcomes.

The major positive will indubitably be an increased awareness and enhanced image of the Gold Coast,  which will lead to greater benefit for future tourism and investment, however, with the increasing use of social media, destination marketing organisations have less control over the brand than ever before.

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