Ancient Stories of Our Land by Jedess & David Hudson

CEO-Board Updates

CEO Column – 11 October 2017

The Tropical North Queensland tourism industry is very proud of showcasing the best managed reef in the world to visitors. It’s something we constantly spruik about, just as we do about tourism’s role in protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

But why is the Reef so well managed?

Tourism and Events Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) have compiled a list of frequently asked questions which are now housed on to make sure our industry can talk about these issues with visitors.

Among the questions answered are:

  • What is coral bleaching and what causes it?
  • Can tourists enjoy the Reef without harming it?
  • What is the Environmental Management Charge?
  • Can visiting the Reef help your understanding of it?
  • How does the Reef meet UNESCO’s criteria for outstanding universal value?

So why is the Great Barrier Reef the best managed reef in the world?The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park sets a global benchmark for marine protected area management, with no-take zones covering about 33.5 per cent of the Marine Park or about 115,374 square kilometres.

UNESCO’s “outstanding universal value” tag is bestowed on the basis that a site’s disappearance “constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world”. Best practice management of the Marine Park and a firm commitment from the tourism industry to its conservation has ensured that it has remained resilient.

Australian Government agency GBRMPA and the Queensland Park and Wildlife Service (QPWS) are charged with the responsibility of managing (protecting and conserving) the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

GBRMPA is recognised as the global leader in the management of a coral reef system and best practice management tools are employed by GBRMPA and QPWS to ensure that the long-term resilience of the reef and islands is maintained. These include:

  • Zoning – this helps to manage and protect the values of the Marine Park that people enjoy. Each zone has different rules for the activities that are allowed, the activities that are prohibited, and the activities that require a permit. Zones may also place restrictions on how some activities are conducted
  • Partnerships & innovative best practice initiatives
  • Education and community awareness
  • Research
  • Policy and Legislation
  • Permits and licenses
  • Protected Area Management plans
  • Site management

An Outlook Report is compiled every five years to evaluate the state of the Great Barrier Reef. The Outlook Report released by the Australian Government concludes that tourism is effectively managed and a very low risk to the Great Barrier Reef. The diversity of the Great Barrier Reef can be attributed to the area’s effective management and protection.

Please share this information with your staff and your customers to make sure they understand what is so special about the Great Barrier Reef. You can find out more about the Great Barrier Reef each month with our Reef Chat newsletter which is out next week. Encourage your staff and customers to sign up for it too.

And don’t forget to sign them up for Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef as we approach its global launch date next month.