Whitsundays offers the delights of the adventures of Great Barrier Reef and plenty of diverse lifestyle experience for the tourists from all over the world. The islands of Whitsundays are situated on the north of Brisbane, near the central coast of Queensland and near the central area of the Great Barrier Reef. Maximum number of islands has earned the National Park status. An excellent climate and natural wonders of the 74 islands provide the tourists a pampered experience of relaxation (Authority, G.B.R.M.P. 2016). On the Queensland coast, Whitsundays offers the perfect holiday destination. It also offers tourism services to the Great Barrier Reef through cruises, which has helped in the development of this region economically and culturally. The Great Barrier Reef is the most highlighted tourist attraction of Australia. It is natural wonder and has become the national symbol.
The report will focus on the tourism of the Whitsundays islands, which revolves around the Great Barrier Reef and various effects of the tourism activities on the economy and society. This online travel blog focuses on the impact of the tourism on the society, economy, political environment, legal aspects and technological development of the Whitsundays islands.
The group of islands is a small part of the whole nation. The economy of the islands is solely dependent on the tourism industry, and the tourism revolves around the white sand beaches and the Great Barrier Reef. Every year more than 7million tourists visit the islands for the attraction of Great Barrier Reef. The Ngaro Sea Trail Great Walk offers a great view and adventures. The seaways and the shortwalks of this region are explored through cruise, yacht, kayaks, powerboats etc. (Hughes, Day and Brodie 2015). The area has developed economically after the tourism flourished. The islands are rich in assets and the tourism industry capitalized those. The local hotel industry has developed, along with the restaurants, rental businesses of cars, kayaks, yacht, boats etc., insurance business etc. Many new jobs have been created, new shopping centers have developed and the contribution of the region in the total GDP has increased. The region has more than $36 billion invested in many projects for the development of many sectors including tourism. The islands have well-planned and well-developed infrastructure, which is a major point for drawing the tourists from across the globe (Ainsworth et al. 2016).
Due to the huge importance of the Great Barrier Reef, it is important to conserve the natural wonder. This has not only improved the natural resources of Australia, but has contributed in developing the tourism and economy around it. Hence, the conservation of the reef is crucial for sustainability (Authority, G.B.R.M.P. 2014).
The political scenario is quite favorable in Whitsundays for the tourism on the Great Barrier Reef, provided the regulations are maintained. The government of Queensland and Whitsundays Regional Council work together to fulfill this mission. The rules and regulations regarding protection of the reef are the legal factors that promote the sustainable development of the reef (Haward et al. 2016).
The societies in those regions and the aboriginal people have contributed in the development of the tourism businesses. They have helped to set up the businesses and attract tourists by offering excellent services. All the above factors work together to have a positive impact on the tourism business of Whitsundays (Authority, G.B.R.M.P. 2014).
Technological improvement, such as, improvement in the adventure and water sports equipment and other devices has promoted tourism growth.
It has been found that, the tourism industry in Whitsundays has developed very rapidly in the past few years. Number of international tourists has increased, due to availability of services, such as, accommodation, food, safety, comfort, leisure sports. As the inflow of money has increased, the region is getting more developed. All types of big and small businesses follow the legal norms for protecting the reef and the level of damage has reduced. The local tourism units have taken the initiatives to educate people and increase awareness. It has been found, that the visitors in Whitsundays have contributed in the protection of the environment by spreading the awareness. In March 2016, global coral bleaching event was the result of rising sea temperature, however, the Whitsundays region is least affected by the bleaching. As the technology has improved and infrastructure developed, the footfall in Whitsundays has increased, leading to development of the region (Thompson et al. 2014).
The tourism operators can help in reef protection through programs, such as, ‘Eye on the Reef’. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority manages the monitoring and protection of the reef. To promote the growth in tourism in Whitsundays and at the same time, protect the Great Barrier Reef, the local government can make improvements in the rules and regulation, so that further damage can be controlled. Full time work opportunity should be increased to develop the region. As the job opportunity increases, the economy gets developed too. Thus, the operations in Great Barrier Reef are subject to many economic, social, political, technological and environmental factors, and have an immense potential to push the growth in Whitsundays.
Ainsworth, T.D., Heron, S.F., Ortiz, J.C., Mumby, P.J., Grech, A., Ogawa, D., Eakin, C.M. and Leggat, W., 2016. Climate change disables coral bleaching protection on the Great Barrier Reef. Science, 352(6283), pp.338-342.
Authority, G.B.R.M.P., 2014. Great barrier reef outlook report 2014.
Authority, G.B.R.M.P., 2016. Tourism Reef Advisory Committee communique: Meeting 5, 14 and 15 September 2016-Whitsundays.
Haward, M., Davidson, J., Lockwood, M., Hockings, M., Kriwoken, L. and Allchin, R., 2013. Climate change, scenarios and marine biodiversity conservation. Marine Policy, 38, pp.438-446.
Hughes, T.P., Day, J.C. and Brodie, J., 2015. Securing the future of the Great Barrier Reef. Nature Climate Change, 5(6), p.508.
Thompson, A., Schroeder, T., Brando, V.E. and Schaffelke, B., 2014. Coral community responses to declining water quality: whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Coral Reefs, 33(4), pp.923-938.