Potential tourism push
IMAGINE having your very own slice of the Great Barrier Reef.
In the Whitsundays, perhaps you can.
Coral gardening is being discussed as a very real option to help inshore reefs recover from Tropical Cyclone Debbie and there are two men who can see the tourism potential attached.
Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox and Tourism Whitsundays chief executive Craig Turner have been involved in talks on the topic during the past couple of weeks.
Cr Willcox said there was currently some research and development into establishing a coral gardening facility “that can (also) be a tourist attraction in its own right”.
Mr Turner said the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville was already pioneering some coral gardening techniques and “this could be a tourism product as well”.
“People could actually go and buy a ticket on a boat to go out there and plant their coral. It’s obviously about intervention and reinstating what’s been damaged, but secondly it’s about conservation and thirdly it’s a tourism product,” he said.
Cr Willcox said he was sure plenty of people would be willing to pay for the privilege of fixing the Whitsundays’ inshore reefs while Mr Turner said it would strengthen visitors’ bonds with the region.
REEF IDEA: Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox and Tourism Whitsundays CEO Craig Turner.