Accor chief operating officer, Simon McGrath, has come out in support of the Packer-backed casino hotel proposed for construction at Barangaroo in Sydney’s Darling Harbour precinct.

Mr McGrath said the Barangaroo project and the re-development of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre will give Sydney the tourism infrastructure it needs to counter the advances of major cities in Asia, as well as other state capitals in Australia.

“There is no doubt that Sydney failed to make the most of the Sydney Olympics and let its tourism infrastructure run-down, just at a time when cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Melbourne were ramping it up,” Mr McGrath said.
“Sydney has so many natural advantages, but without investment in infrastructure it is easy for a city to fall behind its competitors in attracting major events, high-yielding tourists and large-scale conferences. These produce tens of millions of dollars for the local economy and in the end benefit the whole Australian economy.

“After a decade of inactivity, Barry O’Farrell’s government has shown that tourism is a priority for the city by providing the opportunity for major developments, and now we have a private investor in the form of James Packer, who is prepared to fund a project that will add significantly to the city’s tourism resources. We certainly need to support such commitment and vision.”