Great Barrier Reef tourism: caught between commerce and conservation alarm

Source: The Guardian

More people than ever are coming to see the reef and those who make a living showing it off want the world to know it’s still a natural wonder. But they worry about its future, and that of their 64,000-strong industry

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‘Possibly more famous than Australia’: Tourism operators say much of the Great Barrier Reef is still healthy and worth visiting despite bleaching in many areas. Photograph: Daniela Dirscherl/Getty Images/WaterFrame RM

In the dark clouds gathering over the future of the Great Barrier Reef, there has been a small silver lining for the people who make their living showcasing the natural wonder.

When the reef was rocked by an unprecedented second mass bleaching event in the space of a year, the coral hardest-hit by heat stress lay mostly in the tourist-heavy latitudes between Cairns and Townsville.

But despite last year’s damage compounded by new cases dotted across 800 reefs in a 1,500km stretch, not a single reef tourism operator has been forced to seek out new ground to take visitors.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which licenses operators to visit designated reef sites, confirmed it has received one request to change a permit. And that was not because of bleaching but Cyclone Debbie further south, whichdamaged that other hub of reef tourism, the Whitsundays after it escaped the bleaching.

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Scottish windfarms have no impact on tourism

new report by consultancy BiGGAR Economics, which analysed the impact of Scottish windfarms on tourism-related employment in an area, this week concluded there was no evidence to suggest windfarms had an adverse effect on tourism in an area.
The potential impact on tourism is a common consideration during the planning process and as such the study set out to see if the impact could be quantified.
It analysed the level of windfarm installations and the level of employment in tourism in Scotland between 2009 and 2013 at both a national and a local level.
The study found that at the national level the number of wind turbines in Scotland increased by 121% over the period, while tourism-related employment rose by 10.8%.
However, the report found the distribution of both windfarms and tourism jobs varied significantly across the country so it also looked at the impact on tourism employment in areas with a higher proportion of wind turbines.
It concluded there was no clear relationship between the growth in the onshore wind sector and growth in the tourism sector.
The report also looked at tourism employment in the immediate locality of 18 windfarms across Scotland that have been built since 2009. This found that the there was a significant variation between sites and there was no overall relationship between the development of wind energy and tourism employment in an area,” the company said. “In fact, in the majority of cases the level of tourism employment increased more in the immediate area surrounding a windfarm than in the wider local authority area.
The results of the report echo similar studies largely debunking the alleged impact of windfarms on health and house prices.

Further information:
Guardian News Article : Scottish windfarms have ‘no effect’ on tourism, report finds (August 3, 2016)
Biggar Economics, Wind Farms and Tourism Trends in Scotland : A Research Report  (July2016)

Supporting Marine Protected Areas in the Southern Ocean

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This initiative saeeks explicit support from Antarctic tour operators and/or tourism industry bodies (such as the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators – IAATO) for the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the international body tasked with the conservation of marine life in that region.
In an increasingly small, human-dominated world all actors have a role to play to preserve remaining wild spaces including the ocean. This includes the tourism industry, tour operators, as well as tourism company staff and the tourists themselves. LT&C opens opportunities for these actors to take tangible action towards conservation, for instance by communicating directly to decision makers the importance of protecting marine environments and preserving wild spaces.
CCAMLR, the international body tasked to manage Antarctic marine life, began discussions on the adoption of a representative network of Marine Protected Areas in the early 2000s. In 2009, CCAMLR established the South Orkney Islands Southern Shelf MPA, a region covering 94,000 km2 in the South Atlantic. In 2011 it agreed on a “General framework for the establishment of CCAMLR MPAs.”
MPAs would further the conservation objective of the 1982 Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. It would also be in accordance with the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, acknowledged in the decision at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to conserve 10% of marine and coastal areas through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas by 2020.

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Global Green Destinations Day

27th–28th September 2016 / Ljubljana, Slovenia
European Green Capital 2016

dsc_0519_3252_orig_idrijaThe 2-day international conference will bring together award-winning green destinations from around the world, representatives of sustainable hospitality, providers of green business solutions as well as governmental and non-governmental institutions active in the field of planning sustainable policies.

Global Green Destinations Day offers a meeting platform to make new connections, build strategic partnerships and join international networks aiming to promote a brighter, more sustainable future in travel and tourism. Would you like to present your green solution? Join the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations or Top 10 Green Solutions contest.

The event offers a varied programme, which includes:
– round table meetings and workshops on sustainable forms of development of destinations, sustainable hotel management, green programmes and green marketing
Top 100 Sustainable Destinations 2016 award ceremony
Top 10 Green Solutions award ceremony

– Quality Coast-, Quality Destination- and Slovenia Green certifications

– best providers of green infrastructure and technologies.

 Some of the most exciting parts of the programme are the special study tours, which will enable participants to experience the best green experiences in Slovenia, one of the greenest countries in the world.

 Celebrate World Tourism Day in Ljubljana, the European Green Capital 2016 by joining the most prestigious event for green and responsible tourism.

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REMINDER: EUCC-France international conference Littoral 2016

logo_litThe 13th conference of the traditional biennial international event of the Coastal & Marine Union (EUCC) is  “Littoral 2016” : The changing littoral. Anticipation and adaptation to climate change. The conference will be held in Biarritz (France) from October 25 to October 29, 2016.

The presentation of the conference can be found here: English Presentation-Littoral 2016.

  • Deadline for the early-bird registration: 1st June 2016.

To find more information please consult the following website: littoral2016.univ-pau.fr