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Wealthy investors have the resources to back projects that others shy away from.
The hotel development on Rottnest Island that is being undertaken by the Paspaley family had floundered earlier in the decade. But Marilynne Paspaley now expresses her confidence in plans for a 120-room luxury hotel and spa.
“Any new development stimulates interest in a destination and puts it front of mind in the travel market,” she says. “This development will achieve that both domestically and internationally.”
There is good reason for her upbeat mood. While the foundation of the family fortune is in pearling, it also has interests in property and resorts in Broome and Kununurra.
The Paspaley family’s wealth was shown at $562 million in last year’s BRW Rich 200.
Some business people have drawn on their travel expertise to open resorts.
Flight Centre founder and managing director Graham Turner and his wife Jude own Spicers Retreats Hotels & Lodges , which consists of seven luxury properties across southern Queensland and the Hunter Valley in NSW.
Others who have made more recent forays into the sector are setting sidelines away from their main industries.
Cashed-up coalminer Brian Flannery bought the controversial Club Med site in Byron Bay, NSW. He paid about $18.5 million for the 88-hectare property.
The deal was kept under wraps for about 12 months but he is reportedly scouring other east coast locations for real estate.
Flannery pocketed $530 million from the takeover of his coal company, Felix Resources, in late 2009.
He now heads White Energy and his wealth was estimated at $588 million in last year’s BRW Rich 200.
But perhaps he is following in the footsteps of former wine tycoon Bob Oatley, who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on Hamilton Island, in the Whitsundays.
The idyllic island location, including the Ala Moana boutique retreat that charges more than $6000 a night in peak season, is now well-established on the luxury resort scene.