The Riley resort in Cairns opened in November.
The Riley resort in Cairns opened in November.

Why Queensland won the tourism crown for 2018

QUEENSLAND will continue to outshine other states in the battle for the tourism dollar next year with the luxury end of the market leading the charge.

CBRE Hotels Asia Pacific national director Wayne Bunz said the Sunshine State remained the "jewel in Australia's tourism crown".

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He said Queensland accounted for 22 of the 56 hotels that opened nationally in 2018.

"Queensland now has some of the best luxury brands in Australia," Mr Bunz said.

"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 and The Emporium."

The exterior of W Hotel in Brisbane
The exterior of W Hotel in Brisbane

Mr Bunz said the Cairns hotel sector continued to gain momentum, opening its first major international hotel product in more than two decades.

As part of the Dubai-based GA Group's $500 million 5-star Crystalbrook Collection, the Riley resort opened in November. The Bailey and the Flynn will open next year.

"The entry of 5-star, luxury, boutique and lifestyle hotels in Cairns will raise the bar considerably and help to attract a new wave of travellers to the already popular tourism spot," Mr Bunz said.

"The customer appetite for luxury product is here; people are willing to pay a premium as long as the service delivers. With more and more entrants in this top end of the market, Australia now has the product to meet this demand."

Mr Bunz said The Whitsundays would be back on the "luxury destination radar" with the reopening of Hayman and Daydream islands next year.

The rebuilt Hayman Island resort will be opened next year.
The rebuilt Hayman Island resort will be opened next year.

"Rebuilding these resorts after Cyclone Debbie in 2017 has been a silver lining, providing an opportunity for these operators to reinvest insurance money, substantially improve these resorts and truly capitalise on a location that is regarded as one of the world's greatest luxury destinations," he said.