Good news all round

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - AL GRUNDY Tourism Whit­sun­days chair­man

IT WAS in­ter­est­ing to hear about the new re­port by the Great Bar­rier Reef Foun­da­tion.

Pre­pared by Deloitte Ac­cess Eco­nomics, it re­veals the to­tal as­set value of the reef to be $56 bil­lion, based on the World Her­itage site’s eco­nomic, so­cial and iconic brand value.

Those of us liv­ing and work­ing in the Whit­sun­days are all too aware of its value to us but this is the first time some­one has placed a dol­lar value on it.

The fig­ure of $56 bil­lion was bro­ken down, with tourism, at $29 bil­lion the big­gest con­trib­u­tor, fol­lowed by $23.8 bil­lion from in­di­rect or non-use value, and its value to recre­ational users ($3.2 bil­lion) rounds it out.

Along­side its im­por­tant eco­log­i­cal func­tion, this re­port demon­strates the reef of­fers sub­stan­tial value to Aus­tralia and the world in terms of the eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity it gen­er­ates and the em­ploy­ment and ex­pe­ri­ences it sup­ports.

The reef added $6.4 bil­lion to the econ­omy in 2015–16 and sup­ported more than 64,000 full-time jobs.

I sin­cerely hope, now there is a dol­lar value placed on the reef, that all of us, in­clud­ing our politi­cians, can find a way to do even more to pro­tect it for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

In other news, the an­nounce­ment that the Whit­sun­days will again host the Clip­per Round the World Yacht Race in 2018, is wel­come. The stopover will in­clude a wel­come event, a rodeo and a lunch on White­haven Beach, with the Clip­per “car­ni­val” ex­pected to at­tract more than 4000 vis­i­tors and gen­er­ate more than $3 mil­lion for the econ­omy.

Thanks to Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil, Abell Point Ma­rina, Tourism Whit­sun­days and Tourism and Events Queens­land for their sup­port.

And lastly, do­mes­tic vis­i­tors are stay­ing longer and spend­ing more.

The Na­tional Vis­i­tor Sta­tis­tics for the year end­ing March 31, 2017, showed while the num­ber of vis­i­tors to the re­gion was slightly down on last year (2.9%), vis­i­tor ex­pen­di­ture was up 8.6%, at $538.5 mil­lion. The av­er­age length of stay was also up on the pre­vi­ous year, with do­mes­tic hol­i­day- mak­ers stay­ing an av­er­age 1.1 nights longer than pre­vi­ously, at 5.9 nights.

That has to be a good thing!

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