Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific Boss Calls for Immediate Gold Coast Infrastructure Investment

GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND (APRIL 16, 2019) – An immediate increase in infrastructure investment via smart visionary planning is needed on the Gold Coast to prevent adverse impacts on the environment and tourism industry, according to President and Managing Director, International Operations, of Wyndham Vacation Clubs, Barry Robinson.


“We should be running our country as a business and sometimes we need to make unpopular decisions that will bring a desirable long-term impact in the future. Not everyone can see the vision,” Mr Robinson told an Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) panel discussion on the Gold Coast this morning. “There are examples throughout Asia of cities that we currently see as third world that are advancing their accessibility leaps and bounds ahead of Australian cities.”


Wyndham Vacation Clubs is a business line of Wyndham Destinations, the world’s biggest vacation ownership and exchange company. The business’ Asia Pacific operation has one of its main offices based on the Gold Coast and employs more than 700 people across its Bundall corporate office and four properties, making it one of the city’s largest private employers.


Mr Robinson, who travels extensively in his role and is currently based in Singapore, cited many examples of quick action implemented overseas. “Other countries – like China – are manoeuvring quickly. They have the next Winter Olympics and they have started building a high speed rail line from Bejing to the Olympic site that will turn a five-hour trip into a 40-minute train ride.”


Recent projections show marked increases in inbound overseas tourists and domestic tourists to the Gold Coast over the next 10 years and a residential population increase of about 350,000 by the year 2041. Mr Robinson’s call for action is timely, considering the Easter break at the end of the week.


“The Gold Coast is going to be jam packed – and we are only scratching the surface from a tourism perspective. It is great to hear about public transport investment here, but let’s not forget that we have a substantial drive market. Visitors are still bringing their cars here and wanting to drive around.”


He also urged the Queensland Government to consider road traffic in the final version of its masterplan for The Spit.


“The plan in general is good. The negative – it’s a big negative – is how you get people in and out of there. You have a cruise ship terminal that’s going to bring in some cases ships carrying up to 6,000 people along with new hotels there, which could be up to another 3,000 to 4,000 people going in and out.


“You’ve either got to build a bridge or tunnel and have it link up to the M1 with exit branches. If you try and bring all the traffic back around to where you go across the Southport Bridge, it is going to be an absolute disaster.”


Mr Robinson also told the breakfast audience, that governments should consider where business can be accorded opportunities and empowered to take responsibility at the same time – through ideas like concessionaires on the beach.


“At Clearwater Beach in Florida, part of the role for a concessionaire to hold their licence is that they have to make sure the beach is pristine at the end of the day. It’s not the government’s job or the council: the concessionaires have to rake the sand and they have to make sure the rubbish is gone.


“We have some of the world’s best beaches and I use them regularly. I am passionate about protecting them and it disappoints me to see rubbish on the beach every time I go surfing. I think business has a role to play here and that our thinking is relatively narrow.”


As President and Managing Director, International Operations, Wyndham Vacation Clubs, Mr Robinson oversees operations for Wyndham Destinations’ timeshare business outside of North America. He is also a board member of the AAoA, which is the national body that provides a voice for the tourism accommodation sector across Australia.


Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific develops, markets and sells vacation ownership interests across a network of 34 resorts in the Asia Pacific region, serving more than 60,000 owners in leading timeshare club, the WorldMark South Pacific Club, as well as operating and managing a portfolio of 33 resorts.