Workshop focuses on protecting coral reef tourism

Australia’s lead managers for the Great Barrier Reef passed on tips to national and international ecotourism managers on how to manage tourism sustainably, enhance visitors’ experiences, and deliver ‘take home’ messages about protecting coral reefs at the Presenting for Protection: eliciting behaviour change in visitors to World Heritage areas event held today.

The event was hosted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, in Townsville, as part of its role as co-chair of the Secretariat of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI).

Marine Park Authority General Manager Reef Strategy Margaret Johnson said guests travelled from countries such as Belize, Indonesia, Palau, Vietnam and Samoa.

“The workshop focussed on sustainable tourism and the presentation of marine World Heritage values,” Ms Johnson said.

“Ecotourism provides an opportunity for developing countries to support their livelihoods and establish businesses through effectively presenting and protecting their environmental and cultural assets.”

Marine Park Authority Assistant Director of Tourism and Education Fiona Merida said it was estimated that coral reef tourism contributes $36 billion to the global tourism industry annually.

“Coral reefs are vulnerable to the effects of tourism, so it’s important tourism is carefully managed to prevent reef damage,” Ms Merida said.

“Well managed coral reef tourism can support the economy, communities and protect reefs.”

Guest speakers include:

  • Fiona Merida, the Authority’s Assistant Director of Tourism and Education – presentation on creating Master Reef Guides
  • Africa Berdonces, Naturalist Guide, Galapagos National Park, Ecuador – presentation on Tourism Management of the Galapagos National Park
  • Bunyan Sivoro, Director of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Solomon Islands – presentation on Developing and Promoting Nature-based Tourism in the Coral Triangle.

Australia, through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, is a founding member of ICRI.

Australia is partnering with Monaco and Indonesia and are co-chairing the ICRI Secretariat until mid-2020.