Excerpt:

Surfers Paradise could be turned into a souk and Cavill Avenue into a kasbah as part of a bold plan to make the Gold Coast a 'Ramadan-friendly zone'.

Arabic-style marquees, traditional coffee shops, halal restaurants and Middle Eastern entertainment would pop up in Surfers, Broadbeach and at theme parks to encourage big-spending, long-staying Middle Eastern tourists to come here next year during the usually travel-shy holy period of Ramadan.

Nassif Lawand, managing director of inbound tour operators Lawand Tourism, said 2009 would be the first time in 30 years that Ramadan had encroached into the July-August period, traditionally the time Middle Eastern tourists flock to the Gold Coast to escape the stifling heat and sapping humidity of home.

The idea, Mr Lawand said, would not only attract Arabs during Ramadan when people were more reluctant to travel, but could also steal a march on some of the world's most glamorous cities. Muslims from Melbourne, Sydney, Malaysia and Indonesia could also be lured here as Surfers Paradise becomes 'Ramadan Paradise'.


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