THE Courtyard Marriott Hotel has teamed up with Gold Coast Tourism and the State Government to launch a Gold Coast Ramadan evening lounge at the popular Surfers Paradise property.
The initiative aims to increase the Gold Coast’s Middle Eastern appeal.
Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter, says the Gold Coast’s popularity with Middle Eastern visitors was no accident.
“Middle Eastern visitors have been welcomed by the Gold Coast for many years now and we are pleased to further the relationship with the opening of the Gold Coast Ramadan lounge in addition to our established cultural activities including the Muslim Visitor’s Guide,” he says.
“Our visitors from the Middle East are well regarded by the local industry as they stay for extended periods and are very active around the city, they really like to experience all the things to see and do on the Gold Coast, and the Ramadan lounge will certainly add to that.”
Minister for Tourism Peter Lawlor, says tourism data shows that Middle Eastern visitors to Australia contributed $573 million to the national economy over the last year.
“In 2009, Queensland welcomed 20,500 visitors from the Middle East and North Africa. Additionally, Middle East arrivals to Australia were forecast to grow more than 12 per cent per year between 2008-2013,” he says.
“These figures demonstrate the opportunity to better market the Gold Coast to the Middle East, make visitors from that international region feel more welcome, and see this convert into higher bookings and an increase in expenditure for the region.
“The Gold Coast Ramadan evening lounge will run three days a week during holy Ramadan – the ninth month on the Muslim calendar during which a strict fast is observed from sunrise to sunset.
“The lounge will be a free facility during Ramadan where visiting and local Muslims can gather after a day of traditional fasting.”