The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority values its relationship with the tourism industry and seeks to improve the permitting arrangements for tourism operators.

As part of the Tourism Management Action Strategy, the managing agencies are reviewing and updating existing tourism management, including the Managing Tourism Permissions policy and related policies and procedures, to ensure contemporary management, reduce administrative burden and promote environmental outcomes.

The policy Managing Tourism Permissions to Operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (including Allocation, Latency and Tenure) includes:

  • Application, assessment, variation and transfer arrangements for tourism permissions
  • the offer of first option on a further tourism permission for existing permission holders, with a requirement for reasonable use of special tourism permissions (that is, those that are 'capped')
  • the requirement to commence operation of a permission within two years
  • allocation of new or spare special tourism permissions through expressions of interest
  • the opportunity for 15-year permit terms for certified high standard tourism operations.

The policy was adopted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on 13 August 2003 and amended on 29 July 2004.