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The Reef

Shark movie scares tourism chiefs

Daniel Bateman  Nov 04, 2009

Tourism operators are bracing for the release of a film that depicts the Great Barrier Reef as a hunting ground for man-eating great white sharks.

The Reef, a $3.5 million movie which was filmed at Bowen and Hervey Bay, is due for release in Australia next year.

It follows a turbulent year for Reef tour operators, who have been struggling to keep afloat during a tourism downturn.

The film, which is based on a true story, tells the story of four friends who are forced to swim to a nearby island after their yacht capsizes on the Great Barrier Reef.

The group is stalked by a killer great white shark.

The film is being supported by the State Government.

Association of Marine Park Operators CEO Col McKenzie described the movie as pure fantasy, as great whites are not known to venture any further north than Hervey Bay.

Mr McKenzie said previous movies, such as Open Water, which depicted the story of a couple stranded on the Reef terrorised by sharks after being left behind by their diving boat, had hurt the industry.

"We know from the industry, any kind of shark attack, any kind that they air in the Jaws movies and things like that, there’s a drop off in inquiries within the marine tourism industry," he said.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive Rob Giason was concerned the film, which was being touted as "based on a true story", could give the wrong impression about what the Great Barrier Reef experience was truly about.

"The concerning issue for me is this piece of particular creative licensing actually distorts what reality is," Mr Giason said.

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones said filming would soon finish around World Heritage-listed Fraser Island.

"The Bligh Government is proud to support a film industry that uses Queensland's pristine beaches and waters as a backdrop to international films," Ms Jones said.

Quicksilver managing director Tony Baker hoped audiences would be able to work out fact from fiction when watching the movie.

Shark movie scares tourism chiefs
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