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The changing face of reef tourism

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Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism

The Changing Face of Reef Tourism 02 March 2012

MARTIN FERGUSON Minister for Resources and Energy Minister for Tourism

TONY BURKE Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

A change is underway for tourism in the Great Barrier Reef, with the region today becoming Australia’s newest National Landscape.

The National Landscapes program identifies ‘the best of nature’ in Australia, helping locals get to the crux of what they can offer visitors and then marketing that unique offer to the world.

Tourism Minister, Martin Ferguson AM MP, and Environment Minister, Tony Burke MP, congratulated the business operators who are steering Reef tourism in a new direction.

“Like many of our tourism regions, the Great Barrier Reef wants to evolve and improve what it offers so it can meet the increasingly sophisticated expectations of today’s visitors,” Minister Ferguson said.

“Becoming a National Landscape is the Reef community’s way of choosing its own future - it has prompted them to think carefully about what makes this place unique and how to reflect that in every visitor touch point, from accommodation and tour options to the signs in public places.

“The National Landscapes process gets the region speaking to visitors in one voice, and that’s a big advantage in today’s highly competitive market.”

Environment Minister, Tony Burke, said a series of local workshops had identified the intricacy and diversity of the Reef’s natural environments as the area’s unique selling point.

“The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s greatest treasures and we are proud of our management of it,” Mr Burke said.

“Each of its 900 islands and 2900 coral reefs offers a glimpse into a different underwater world.

“Nature is the number one thing that attracts overseas visitors to our shores, so all the work we do to protect the Great Barrier Reef is crucial to the tourism sector.

“Exploring Australia’s National Landscapes turns visitors into advocates - they get a deeper understanding of the environment, they can see how fragile it is and they want to help protect it.”

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As a World Heritage Area and international icon the Reef features prominently in Tourism Australia’s international marketing. It now joins 12 other regions as National Landscapes, including Australia’s Red Centre, the Kimberley and the Australian Alps.

The Great Barrier Reef National Landscape Steering Committee, made up of local tourism stakeholders, will now prepare an Experience Development Strategy, identifying future opportunities for tourism businesses, ways to fill product and infrastructure gaps, environmental management priorities and marketing plans.

National Landscapes is a partnership between Tourism Australia and Parks Australia, helping regional tourism operators to develop quality tourism products and services that celebrate the environmental significance and importance of Australia’s unique landscapes.

For more information visit

Media Contact:

Cathryn Tilmouth (Minister Ferguson) 0401 222 941; Jessica Harris (Minister Burke) 0409 188 743

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