Water quality needs clarity
TOURISM operators on the Barrier Reef should stop using picturesque underwater photos of bright pink and yellow coral and tell people what the reef is truly like according to Whitsunday operator Al Grundy.
Mr Grundy told a Brisbane forum about tourism and the Great Barrier Reef that water quality in the Whitsundays had declined 45% in the past 10 years.
He said sometimes the water quality was so poor, they couldn't let tourists swim or snorkel.
Mr Grundy, from Explore Whitsundays, quizzed panellists about how the Great Barrier Reef should be marketed to international tourists when some days it was not possible to swim in the water.
He said water quality varied from day to day and on some days staff would carry out a risk assessment and realise the water quality was too poor.
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort managing director Peter Gash, who works on the resort located off the coast between Gladstone and Bundaberg, agreed any marketing should be honest and transparent.
"The Whitsundays is one of the most beautiful places on the planet ... but it is probably not the place to consistently presume or expect to snorkel with the types of coral you'd see on the outer reef," he said.
Mr Grundy said declining water quality and increasing sedimentation were problems in the Whitsunday area and soft corals were deteriorating rapidly.