Outrigger opens doors
By ED SOUTHORN
THE Tweed Coast's newest and biggest attraction opened its doors for business yesterday, kicking off a new era for local tourism.
The $75 million Outrigger resort at the Salt township south of Kingscliff welcomed its first paying guests, while tradesmen continued to apply finishing touches to the 318-room three-storey complex.
Outrigger general manager Gerd Beurich and his staff, all a little nervous, were busy from early yesterday morning as slightly bemused guests and some curious locals made themselves at home or dropped by for a look around.
Mr Beurich declared the Outrigger at Salt was aiming to "pull people out of Surfers (Paradise)", signalling the new resort will be a competitive player in the regional tourism market.
"This is a fantastic day for everyone here, particularly all our staff who have worked so hard and with such enthusiasm," Mr Beurich said.
The Saltbar tavern bistro and sports bar, owned by the Ray Group, also opened yesterday in the resort complex.
The tavern will employ 30 staff, additional to the 50 staff at the resort.
Saltbar general manager Juliet Green said the tavern was not only for Outrigger guests.
Ms Green said Tweed residents and visitors were most welcome at the tavern, which has numerous large TV screens and an outdoor dining area.
Over the next few months, a bottle shop and small supermarket will open at the resort, followed by restaurants and clothing boutiques expected to open by mid-year.
An hourly shuttle to Kingscliff and the Go Ride A Wave activities service, featuring surfing and bicycling, also commenced yesterday at the Outrigger.
Outrigger Australia and New Zealand vice president (operations) Cliff Olson said the Tweed's rural setting made the Salt resort different from Outrigger's Gold Coast resorts.
Mr Beurich said the Tweed Coast resort would itself become a destination, enabling guests to remain within the resort complex for the duration of their holidays if they wished.
Otherwise, Tweed Coast hinterland attractions and Gold Coast theme parks and shopping centres were easily accessible, es- pecially during daylight saving.