Fisherman might be nervous, but eco-tourism is the industry cheering-on the declaration of the Coral Sea Conservation Zone this week. The declaration is seen as the first step towards the creation of the most significant marine park on the planet.
This has the potential to foster growth of sustainable tourism and establish tourism connectivity, which is a major opportunity for Australia in the middle to long term.
“I fully support the Australian government in taking such a pro-active and far-reaching decision,” said eco-tourism industry pioneer, Mr. Tony Charters.
“Too often we see government stepping in after damage has been done, in an effort to repair environmental areas. Through taking the initiative to create the Coral Sea Conservation Zone the government is taking a pro-active position to protect this near-pristine marine environment.”
Mr. Charters will convene the Global-Eco Asia Pacific Tourism conference later this year on behalf of Eco-tourism Australia, to be attended by industry leaders in this sector of tourism. Reef tourism and its connection to the Coral Triangle will be one of the key agendas.
The new conservation zone links Australia to its southeast Asian neighbors in a direct and influential way, which can only be good for eco-tourism.
“The recent announcement of international cooperation to increase protection of the Coral Triangle by the six southeast Asian countries responsible for it, is also very heartening, and managing tourism operations in these fragile and sensitive areas is a very important issue that will be discussed at the Global-Eco conference,” Mr. Charters added.
The Coral Triangle stretches from the waters west of Malaysia to Fiji and includes critical Australian waters now incorporated into the Coral Sea Conservation Zone. While the initiative comes from a conservation perspective, it has equal benefits for tourism.
“There are many natural and cultural heritage linkages within the Coral Triangle not the least of which include the ancient trade linkages that were formed through these waters, the WWII history, and the reef and marine systems. These values will directly benefit Australia’s tourism industry through building stronger links with our southeast Asian neighbors,” said Mr. Charters.
Mr. Charters also applauded the notion of having a Coral Sea Marine Park linking up with the existing Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
“Linking the potential Coral Sea marine park with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park would make a meaningful difference to the region’s ability to plan, respond, and adapt to climate change,” he said.
Often billed as the Serengeti of the Sea, the Coral Sea is a spectacular, rich, and varied marine habitat critical for species such as tuna, sharks, and turtles that are seriously depleted around the world.