The $4.2 billion Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort – potentially the largest investment in tourism infrastructure in Australia’s history – has taken a major step forward following the lodgement in November of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Plans for the 343 hectare resort at Yorkeys Knob north of Cairns include a waterpark; a 20 hectare reef lagoon; one of the largest aquaria in the world; nine luxury hotels; a 25,000-seat sports stadium; a convention and exhibition centre; an 18-hole golf course; two 2500-seat theatres; a casino and a retail sector.
The resort is expected to attract thousands of domestic and international tourists each year and provide a significant boost to the local and State economies.
Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort Chief Executive Officer Justin Fung says submission of the EIS was a significant milestone for the project.
“We engaged a team of expert consultants to address each of the issues highlighted in the Terms of Reference (TOF) issued by the Government,” he says. “The team has since prepared comprehensive development and environmental plans which reflect the scope and scale of the proposed project and are designed to minimise or avoid impacts on the surrounding environment.”
The Aquis project has been conceived and planned as a fully integrated resort that leverages the stunning beauty of the Great Barrier Reef to draw tourists from Asia and the rest of the world.
Subject to approval of the EIS and the granting of an appropriate casino licence, the project proponents expect to commence construction in 2014 with an official opening in 2018.