What impact will the Gold Coast Airport’s Project LIFT have?

By Greg Bell

While the Gold Coast has changed a lot over the years, if there's one thing that the region has always been, it's a tourism hotspot. Whether visitors are coming for the perfect beaches or the thrilling theme parks, the country's sixth largest city has always held appeal. Of course, the difference today is that these visitors simply aren't leaving – with more and more people choosing to settle down on the Gold Coast and make it their permanent home.

From a commercial perspective, there are a few things that cities need in order to compete as a top tier destination that will attract travellers from all around the world. These include a good public transport system and an easy-to-navigate layout, but perhaps the most important factor is the airport. Without a decent point of entry into a region, it's all but impossible for it to thrive as a tourism destination – let alone expand. While the Gold Coast Airport was once perfectly tailored to the city's needs, today it simply isn't large enough to deal with all of the traffic – both domestically and internationally.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem, and it's set to arrive in a few years thanks to Project LIFT.

An airport for the future

Speaking in a press release from February this year, the former Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss outlined the huge importance of expanding and upgrading the Gold Coast Airport. The key area he identified was a need for extra space, in order to increase the number of passengers who can enter and leave the region.

"The major redevelopment of the airport will almost double the size of the terminal, expand the apron to accommodate five additional aircraft stands and incorporate four new aerobridges – a facility long awaited by travellers," he said.

The development received approval earlier this year, and is set to be completed in stages between now and 2021. Referred to as Project LIFT (Let's invest for tomorrow), the total cost of the renovations will run to over $200million, but the long-term effects for the region will be well worth the investment.

This is especially true with the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the horizon – an event that is estimated to bring well over 100,000 people to the Gold Coast. With the revamped airport in place before then, it will be far easier to ensure that the Games run smoothly and all attendees have a good time.

The effects of Project LIFT

At the moment, the Gold Coast Airport serves roughly six million passengers every year. This seems like a big number, but pales against the estimated 16.3million that will use the facility by 2031. Without the necessary expansion of the airport, these additional passengers simply will not be able to travel. The knock-on effects of this could be huge, reducing and even stunting the growth of the region.

Fortunately, Project LIFT is underway, and when considering how it might affect the Gold Coast, there's a lot to get excited about for local businesses and those who own commercial property. According to Warren Truss' press release, "the development is expected to generate additional tourism expenditure of around $62million per year and contribute approximately $426million to the Gross Regional Product over 20 years from 2015-16 to 2034-35".

Of course, this is specific to the tourism industry, but in terms of renting commercial property, better business profits can quite easily translate into more demand for space. This makes now the ideal time to buy or lease commercial property on the Gold Coast, in order to avoid the higher prices that will come as a result of increased demand.

For more information on Gold Coast commercial property, get in touch with Ray White today.

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