Coral bleaching of Great Barrier Reef could cost Australia a million tourists

Published on : Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Great Barrier ReefSevere coral bleaching on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef could cost it more than a million visitors a year and huge sums in lost tourism revenue.

 

As the reef continues to suffer the effects of coral bleaching, brought about by usually warm waters, international tourists are likely to look elsewhere for their holidays.

 

The research has been conducted by the Austria Institute. The progressive think-tank surveyed more than 3,000 Chinese, US and UK visitors, as well as 1,400 domestic tourists.

 

The Great Barrier Reef and the Sydney Harbour Bridge were selected by international respondents as being their top Australian tourist attractions.

 

The research states that nearly 900,000 Australian tourists would most likely choose somewhere else to visit if the reef continues to experience bleaching.

 

The institute also warned that if the Great Barrier Reef loses one million visitors, then it would put 10,000 jobs at risk.

 

The institute also claimed that 175,000 potential visitors could be put off visiting Australia altogether because of coral bleaching, costing the country around AU$1 billion in lost revenue.

 

Bleaching happens when corals become stressed by high water temperatures, which are becoming more common in Australia as the country feels the effects of climate change.

 

The Australia Institute research singles out coal as a leading contributor to climate change, which scientists in turn blame for rising sea temperatures and coral bleaching.

 

A heatwave has brought record-breaking temperatures to much of the country this month and the recent photos show the fresh bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, which is already reeling from last year’s mass bleaching event.

 

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