A Golden Opportunity for Denis Payan

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Creating an outdoor adventure playground on the Gold Coast is a long way from a career in the French military. But French national Denis Payan wanted a change of pace, and he found that Queensland had the answers.

After leaving the French army, Denis, 52, created his outdoor business Adventure Parc, which specialises in outdoor rope courses.

After growing his business significantly across France, Denis and his wife Pascale saw a great opportunity to move to Australia and set up a similar business, and Queensland was firmly in their sights.

“We met another French couple in 2005, who had done a similar thing, setting up in Australia some 23 years ago, and after speaking to them, we realised we might be able to do the same,” Denis said.

“Queensland has everything we were after–an ideal outdoor setting and importantly, it was a safe, secure and perfect weather environment to set up a business such as ours.

“We were lucky,” Denis said.

“There was a definite market for a business like ours in the Gold Coast’s vibrant tourism industry.”

In 2007 the Payan family was granted a State Sponsored Business Owner Visa, class 163, and the rest is history.

“We were welcomed with open arms! Everyone was so helpful when we were setting up our business.

“We established Adventure Parc firstly at Mount Tambourine in the Gold Coast hinterland and then at the Gold Coast’s Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary—both perfect settings for an outdoor business.

“Business is fantastic for us. Adventure Parc has grown so much that last year we had more than 65,000 visitors and we have employed 25 staff to meet the demand.

“The visa application process also went very smoothly, taking only six months. It was then eight months for us to gain our permanent residency in 2010.

“We received such good support from both the Queensland and Australian Governments.”

Six years later and Denis, Pascale, and sons Adrien and Arno are loving life.

“The boys took to the Gold Coast lifestyle like ducks to water,” Denis said.

“They have formed a great group of school friends, joined the local AFL and surf clubs, and they’re always at the beach!

“There is a real sense of community here, and we are so proud to be a part of it.”

Denis’s comment to anyone considering setting up business in Queensland is to make sure people do their research.

“For my business, I travelled the east coast of Australia to view similar businesses and to meet people wishing to develop similar business models. We found that the Gold Coast had the right lifestyle and economic climate and was the place for us,” Denis said.

“We also wrote a thorough business plan, which had extra emphasis given that our Australian visas were based on us setting up a successful business here.

“Life is great. Moving to the Gold Coast is the best thing we’ve ever done.”