The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is an iconic international tourism attraction. A thriving, significant tourism industry has been a part of the Marine Park since the early 1930s when tourism resorts became popular. Since then, the industry has changed and expanded considerably, diversifying into a wide range of new products and experiences. It is now estimated that GBR tourism employs more than 64,000 people (full-time equivalent) and contributes $5.2 billion annually to the Australian economy1. The diversity of Reef tourism products, services and activities today include charter fishing, bareboat sailing, cruise shipping, helicopter and seaplane rides, water sports, whale watching and kayak tours, as well as a plethora of SCUBA dive and snorkelling options for which the GBR is well renowned.
Tourism activities and experiences in the GBR are set in a range of different environments including mangroves and coastal habitats, beaches and islands, as well as inshore, mid-shelf and outer coral reefs. The expected quality of these environments plays an important role in tourists’ travel decision making, and tourists’ perceptions of the health and aesthetic qualities of the locations they visit can strongly influence their satisfaction and likelihood of returning or recommending the destination to others. An understanding of how tourists perceive the GBR, how they experience it, and how their perceptions are formed is becoming increasingly important for tourism operators and Reef managers aiming to provide outstanding Reef tourism experiences that are managed sustainably.
Marine-based tourism operators were contacted by email and invited to participate in the study. Tourism operators were then called on their mobile phone or company landline and an appointment was made to undertake the survey where permission was granted. In 2017, we obtained a response rate of 63% (94 completed + 55 declined) for those that were able to be contacted.
A total of 94 surveys were completed by tourism operators in 2017, and 119 in 2013.
Click here [ddownload id=”167″] to download The SELTMP 2014: Tourism in the Great Barrier Reef technical report, which presents a snapshot of socio-economic data and indicators relevant to the state of the tourism industry in the Great Barrier Reef region.
Click here to [ddownload id=”168″] download a 1 page summary factsheet
Click here to [ddownload id=”169″] download The SELTMP 2013 Interim technical report
1Deliotte Access Economics (2013). Economic Contribution of the Great Barrier Reef. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville.