AMCS: GBR Protection to Strengthen Economy (Australia)
The strong growth in interstate visitors to Queensland revealed in the National Visitor Survey released today can only be maintained or grow if the state’s premier natural attraction is protected, according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
The Great Barrier Reef sustains a $6 billion tourism industry and more than 60,000 local tourism jobs.
“But how many interstate or international visitors will travel to see a natural wonder damaged or ruined by port development, dredging, dumping or shipping?” asks AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director Felicity Wishart.
“The National Visitor Survey tells us more holidaymakers than ever from across Australia are heading north, with some of the strongest visitation growth in Reef communities such as the Tropical North,” Ms Wishart said today.
“These tourists and others from across the world come to experience and photograph coral and marine wildlife like turtles and reef fish, not port developments and dredge plumes.
“The Queensland Tourism Industry Council voiced its concern about the impact of coal port growth and increased chemical run-off on the health of the Reef and tourism jobs only last week.
“It is not alone. The World Heritage Committee, local communities, scientists and thousands of people around the world want more done to protect the Reef from the impacts of industrialisation.
“In about 9 months the World Heritage Committee will assess whether the Great Barrier Reef will be listed as ‘in danger’ due to inadequate government protection, which would have dire consequences for the tourism industry that relies on it.
“The protection of the Great Barrier Reef can help strengthen local communities and the economy.
“It needs leaders in both the Queensland and Australian government who will recognise and support that potential; and reject plans for mega ports, dredging, dumping and increased shipping,” Ms Wishart said.
Press Release, September 11, 2013