New Albany Hilton hotelto target Asian market

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
ACCI chief executive Benita Cattalini with Paul Lionetti at last week’s meeting.
Camera IconACCI chief executive Benita Cattalini with Paul Lionetti at last week’s meeting. Credit: Toby Hussey

Albany’s Hilton Hotel should be open in just over 12 months and could accommodate more than 40,000 people a year, according to project leaders.

Speaking at a public meeting last Thursday, landowner Paul Lionetti said hotel construction was likely to finish in June 2020, with doors opening as early as September.

Mr Lionetti said he hoped the development would create a tourism boost for the town, proposing Aboriginal Australian cultural tours as a possible major lure of tourism from Asia.

He said the number of tourists flying to Albany could also increase, with airfare and hotel packages planned, and called for more advertising of the Great Southern outside of the region to boost awareness.

“Build and they’ll come,” he said. “We haven’t got the great Christ (the Redeemer statue) in Brazil — we’ve got our natural beauty.”

Local artists could be in line to benefit being “most likely” to be sourced for hotel artwork, according to Hilton Cluster general manager David Constantine.

Mr Constantine spoke at the meeting and said Hilton had been working with Tourism WA to prepare packages with the Regional Express airline to attract more tourists.

Those packages were expected to be organised by year’s end, he said.

Mr Constantine revealed Hilton estimated 45,000 people would stay at the hotel each year, but he said the real figure could be higher.

“That’s fairly conservative, actually,” he said.

Meanwhile, Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Benita Cattalini revealed her organisation had been working on a project to advertise the region to WA tourists.

The plan would include transportable kitchens, wine fridges and virtual reality sets to promote the region’s produce.

Albany’s Hilton Garden Inn — the first of its kind in Australia — will be five storeys with 108 rooms, a bar and restaurant, and a gym.

It is expected to create up to 40 local jobs during operation.

The hotel will be the first of four planned Hilton Garden Inns in WA with plans for similar hotels in Busselton, Geraldton, Karratha and Kalgoorlie.

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