Po­ten­tial tourism push

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Sharon Small­wood sharon.small­wood@ whit­sun­day­times.com.au

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.

PHOTO: SHARON SMALL­WOOD

REEF IDEA: Whit­sun­day Mayor An­drew Will­cox and Tourism Whit­sun­days CEO Craig Turner.

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