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Raptis unveils project to transform Brisbane’s river-based tourism industry

Brisbane river-based tourism operators need help with shortages of overnight berths and established facilities, leading to uncertainty in tenures. Thanks to the $15 million Growing Future Tourism Fund – Round 1, the program will provide support for the development of a commercial marina and tourism hub, offering considerable space to continue growing the industry.

The development delivered by Raptis will include a 42-berth marina where commercial and tourist boats can dock overnight along the Brisbane River. The marina will allow tourism operators to make plans along the river near the Gateway Bridge. The vessels will range from 15 to 35 metres, with the marina due for completion by May 2025.

The project will provide a permanent space for Brisbane’s marine tourism after experiencing challenges with floods and displacement over the past few years.

What inspired the development of the project?

Raptis’ roots in the marine industry inspired this project, which started as a small business nearly 70 years ago and played a pivotal role in the growth of many other small businesses in the seafood and real estate industries. We want to extend this and our expertise to grow the Brisbane and Queensland visitor economy.

What does this project mean for the marine tourism operator industry in South East Queensland?

The Brisbane Commercial Marina and Tourism Hub will contribute significantly to three strategic priorities: demand, supply and connectivity, facilitating catalysts for change and enablers of change. This will support the state in reaching the industry target of $44 billion in overnight visitor expenditure by 2032.

Existing and new operators are prohibited from investing their capital in adding new vessels to the fleet until a permanent facility is constructed. This has limited the tourism market and prevented tourists’ access to various tourism experiences in the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay.

The region’s key tourism assets are the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay area. While initially providing a new home port for current tourism operators, interstate and overseas operators’ interest indicates that a purpose-built marine tourism hub would unlock the region’s tourism potential and create new offerings of marine related activities for locals and visitors to enjoy in Brisbane.

The development of the marine tourism sector stemming from the Brisbane Commercial Marina and Tourism Hub is a catalytic project for destination development in Brisbane and Queensland, leading up to the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics in Brisbane, supporting visitor stay and spend.

What are the community benefits of this new project?

Modelling forecasts predict direct expenditure from tourists will be up to $61 million annually as a result of this project, including domestic and international overnight visitors. This excludes day-tripper customers from the Greater Brisbane region and therefore not adding additional expenditure to the area supporting the creation of 122 jobs in the industry.

More broadly, the Brisbane Commercial Marina and Tourism Hub will provide a space for locals to connect and enjoy the Brisbane River and will be an important contribution to placemaking for Brisbane City.

What are your long-term plans for this development?

Long-term plans for the Brisbane Commercial Marina will include an extension into a Tourism Hub (Stage 2), creating a meeting place for locals and visitors to experience the marine and seafood industries while showcasing the beautiful Brisbane River.

How has funding from the Department of Tourism and Sport helped your organisation?

The proposed commercial marina and tourism hub is designed to berth 42 vessels for an industry comprising 18 vessels. Private investors have yet to make this investment because marina occupancy needs time to be cultivated. This has limited the ability for any commercial operators to enter the market.

Funding support from the Growing Future Tourism Fund – Round 1 allows Raptis to deliver this critical development, enabling the sustainable growth of the marine tourism industry. Until now, the industry has been unable to optimise and realise the potential of the Brisbane River, Moreton Bay and South-East Queensland islands.