Tropical resorts once teeming with happy holidaymakers are now a blight on Queensland’s idyllic landscape after their foreign owners abandoned development plans and left them in ruins.
The Capricorn International Resort is owned by Japanese company Iwasaki Sangyo Co in the coastal town of Yeppoon and was a premium destination in its heyday, before it closed suddenly in 2016.
What was once the largest outdoor pool in the southern hemisphere now resembles a murky a swamp, the waterslide is overgrown, and 400 high-end holiday apartments are in total disrepair.
Likewise, Laguna Quays was a prized tourism asset and sits near Airlie Beach – on the doorstep of the famed Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef – before it went bankrupt three years after the grand opening in 1992.
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Drone footage has revealed how the once lush swimming pools are empty, with the beautiful water being replaced with dirt and debris (pictured) – left in permanent limbo by foreign owners
The Capricorn Resort (pictured) was opened by Japanese investors back in 1984 – but now stands in ruins
Pictured: Laguna Quay, which only operated for three years before it went bankrupt in 1992. It has since been bought by a Hong Kong company who have left it in ruins
The former destination, which boasts a golf course designed by sporting champion Greg Norman, was bought by a company from Hong Kong eight years ago – but the property is still lying in ruins.
Local MP Amanda Camm visited the resorts as a child and said looking at them now is ‘heartbreaking’.
She told A Current Affair on Tuesday night that if foreign investors aren’t going to use the multi million-dollar assets, they shouldn’t be taken away.
‘The State Government needs to address this and they need to be looking at, in particular, the foreign ownership models that exists,’ she said.
The Capricorn International Resort, owned by Iwasaki Sangyo Co, in the coastal town of Yeppoon, used to be one of Australia’s most glamorous vacation spots
Capricorn resort is now dilapidated and empty, with empty pools and water slides overrun with grass growth
The green pools are overgrown with moss and leaf litter, while adjoining waterslides and a rock waterfall have dried up completely
‘To see development completely stall and in fact go silent and pushed out for years and years in abeyance – if they don’t want to use it, they should lose it.’
Ms Camm said the government need to enforce time frames on redevelopment proposals to stop companies from leaving operations that could inject millions of dollars into local communities dormant.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind believes the government is missing out on an opportunity for heightened national tourism.
‘It puts a bad reputation around investments for tourism of course, and that’s not what we want to see,’ Mr Gschwind said.
Ms Camm, the area’s local MP (pictured) said the government need to enforce time frames on redevelopment proposals to stop companies from leaving operations that could inject millions of dollars into local communities dormant
Shocking footage captured of the once-popular Capricorn Queensland resort has revealed how the site has become an overgrown eyesore after it was suddenly abandoned in 2016
A murky swamp sits at the abandoned Laguna Quay Resort, which has not been used since 1992
‘They’re very precious assets in sometimes very precious environments so if they don’t deliver what they promise then certainly we should see how it can be resolved and how their community can get some benefit out of these.’
In its prime, Capricorn Resort had numerous bars and eateries, a Japanese garden and restaurant and was surrounded by 9,000 hectares of bush.
It put the town of Yeppoon on the map and brought in both domestic and international tourists, including many wealthy Japanese businessmen.
The tropical getaway played a pivotal role in the tourism infrastructure of the region and its closure has been a major blow to the industry.
Laguna Quay Resort boasts a golf coarse designed by golfing great Greg Norman, but the course is unrecognisable these days
Local MP is furious that Laguna Quay Resort (golf course pictured) was allowed to fall into disrepair
Owner Yohachiro Iwasaki proposed a $600millon redevelopment plan in 2017 but there has been little progress to restore the resort since the announcement.
Residents of Keswick Island, which is part of the Whitsundays, has also been subject to a series of changes since China Bloom took over their slice of paradise on a 99-year lease in 2019.
Island locals accused the Beijing-backed developer of banning boats from accessing the public ramp, shutting down the air strip, and attempting to stop visitors from using the beach which it plans to redevelop.
Helpless residents were also forced to endure ongoing restrictions at the hands of the international group, claiming it has become ‘property of the Chinese Communist Party’.
The first line of the head lease agreement between the Queensland government and China Bloom states that Keswick Island (pictured) is for tourism
Signs welcoming guests to Keswick Island are still up, but locals are concerned about the array of other signs appearing around public areas (pictured)
‘I just don’t think they want Australians on the island. I think that they want to have this island solely for the use of the Chinese tourism market,’ former resident Julie Willis previously told the program.
Signs welcoming guests to Keswick Island are still up, but locals are concerned about the array of other signs appearing around public areas, including the pristine beaches of Basil Bay, warning residents to ‘keep out’.
Ms Willis and her partner Robert Lee were shocked when they were given three days to vacate their rental property in February, despite having lived there without a problem for six years.
Keswick Island (pictured) is located 34km north-east Mackay in central east Queensland – but the public have been banned by a Chinese company
The couple said on Tuesday that a new island manager has restored some order to the place by allowing them to host tourists with Airbnb rentals, but plans to build a proper jetty to welcome tourists to the island are yet to come to fruition.
Ms Camm said the small ramp up to the island is so dangerous ‘it would be torn down if it was on the main land’.
‘There is no doubt in my mind that the Queensland state government has lost control when it comes to island management. It’s not just this island, it’s other islands as well.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Queensland government for comment.