Tourism ri­vals in war of words

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Jeremy Pierce and Danaella Wiv­ell

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.

Pic­ture: CA­LYPSO

Opal Reef off Port Dou­glas

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