Tourism rivals in war of words
FAR Northern Great Barrier Reef tourism operators have rubbished claims from southern rivals that their waters are more pristine than those off Cairns and Port Douglas.
The Bundaberg operators are trying to spread the word about their unbleached coral in a bid to draw more visitors to their often overlooked section of the Reef.
Lady Musgrave Experience boss Brett Lakey said the corals around the southern end of the Reef were “pristine”.
But Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators chief executive Col McKenzie said the bleaching off Port Douglas was not visible to the naked eye and was yet to leave visitors disappointed.
“The reality and the truth of it is Port Douglas isn’t bleached to the extent that any tourist could tell unless they had a degree in marine biology,” he said.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt said the areas south of Cairns were less damaged by bleaching, but not every northern part of the Reef had been hit.
The bleaching north of Port Douglas hasn’t stopped tourists from arriving in their thousands. Tourism Tropical North Queensland chairman Max Shepherd said the Cairns Reef Fleet had been busy.
Opal Reef off Port Douglas