The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s most iconic natural landmarks and a huge reason why Queensland is a popular tourist destination. The reef is known for being a hotbed of aquatic diversity, with incredibly lush coral and an abundance of wildlife, including majestic sea turtles.
Taking up over 2000km’s of the northeast coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is not only a natural wonder in Australia but is recognised for its uniqueness around the globe. As such, the reef has a huge tourism market surrounding it both for domestic tourism and international tourism.
The Great Barrier Reef is made up of hundreds of richly diverse coral islands that are home to many species, some endemic and some endangered. The reef had historically generated significant economic benefits for Queensland and Australia as a whole.
It has proved to be a financial boon for many coastal communities and the tourism industry surrounding it is what many people depend on for their income. Because of its unique significance, in 1981 it was designated as a World Heritage Site.
Each year there are millions of international and domestic visitors to the Great Barrier Reef. Visiting the reef is considered an essential part of any trip to Queensland and snorkelling amongst it is one of the most popular activities.
Because of its size and immense popularity, conserving the reef has been a constant battle for the Queensland government. Improper tourist activities and the fallout from coastal developments have caused problems for the health of the reef, as well as pervasive issues, lie climate change and an outbreak of crown of thorns starfish.
Due to a failure by global governments to cooperatively tackle climate change in any meaningful way, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most obvious victims of global warming. As sea temperatures rise, the reef becomes less and less healthy, leaving the future of the tourism market in doubt.