The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Central Business District (CBD) can be seen behind houses along the foreshore of Sydney Harbour.

Sydney - Australia's Sydney Harbour is set to be dazzled by a sparkling new 500 million Australian dollars Ritz Carlton hotel and residential tower at The Star.

News Corp reported that the 215 metre tower located at Pyrmont, an inner-city suburb of Sydney, aims to attract wealthy tourists into the state.

Star chief executive Matt Bekier said the new hotel was being built to attract even more foreign tourists to Sydney, in particular the Chinese. “Tourism, especially from Asia, is a huge, long-term growth driver for Australia ... (and the hotel) will allow us to really enhance and increase our contribution to Sydney's tourism offering,” Bekier said.

The number of Chinese tourists increased by 23 percent to 1.16 million for the year to Aug. 1 and their spending in the year to July 1 was up 27 percent to an astounding 8.9 billion Australian dollars ­ almost 25 percent of the total spent by all foreign visitors to Australia.

The new development is just one of the many proposals in the Western Harbour Precinct, which is becoming one of the most significant economic regions in Sydney.

There are currently five proposed developments in the area, two office towers at Barangaroo, a Mirvac apartment building at Darling Harbour, three luxury hotels scattered throughout and the Crown casino.

Patricia Forsythe, executive director of the Sydney Business Chamber, said the Western Harbour Precinct was quickly emerging as a must-visit area.

“Taken as a whole, this is a significant business, tourist and arts hub for Sydney,” Forsythe said. “People are putting their faith in the future of Sydney and this is being demonstrated by the quality of the developments and the extent of the investment,” she said. The designs for The Star's new luxury hotel were drafted by a trio of top global architectural firms which is Grimshaw Architects, BVN and FJMT. All three have won numerous awards for their innovative designs around the world in the past.

The winning design will be chosen by a five-person design review panel at the end of October, with the winner then seeking feedback from the community before final plans are lodged with the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment in the first half of next year.

Each of the architects was asked to design a hotel with 220 premium rooms and 150 residences, along with events spaces, conference facilities and a ballroom. If approved, the hotel will be open for business in 2020 or 2021.

Xinhua