The marine tourism industry is a key partner in the protection and management of the Great Barrier Reef. Tourism operators help enhance visitor experiences of the Reef and play an important role in protecting the amazing biodiversity that supports their industry.
High Standard Tourism Operators voluntarily operate to a higher standard than required by legislation as part of their commitment to ecologically sustainable use. These operators are independently certified as meeting best practice standards for the key areas of protection, presentation and partnership.
The Great Barrier Reef is vulnerable to a range of environmental incidents such as oil spills, ship groundings, cyclones, flooding and coral bleaching. Two responses to environmental incidents that impact on tourism have been developed in consultation with the marine tourism industry. The first response outlines a framework for coordination and communication between organisations after an environmental incident, the second assists operators who are impacted by a severe environmental incident.
As an iconic global destination, tourism operators are taking proactive action to tackle climate change to ensure the best outlook for the Great Barrier Reef into the future.
There are also many tourism operators situated across the Marine Park who regularly work in partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to monitor the Reef.
- Tourism staff who are involved in the Eye on the Reef Monitoring Program are trained to monitor and record the health of the Reef. Scientists use this information for their research activities and Marine Park managers use it to identify areas requiring concentrated effort.
- Tourism staff assist with management of the Reef by reporting any interesting and unusual things they see in the Marine Park through the Sightings Network
In the face of an outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish, the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators and individual operators are working with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on crown-of-thorns starfish control activities in the Marine Park. The program is funded by the Australian Government.
Master Reef Guides Program
The Great Barrier Reef tourism industry plays a vital role in presenting the values of the World Heritage Area to millions of visitors annually. Providing storytellers and ambassadors within the tourism industry with up to date information and a leadership platform will ensure world-class representation of the Reef, its values and the management in place to protect those values.
Master Reef Guides will not only provide up to date information on the Reef, but share their stories and experiences, explain how you can get involved in reef protection, and provide tips and tricks to help the Reef from anywhere in the world. The Master Reef Guide program is delivered by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators and Tourism and Events Queensland and is the first of its kind for the Reef.