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Publications archive - International Activities and Commitments


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Australia's report to the UNCSD - 1996

Implementation of Agenda 21
Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1996
ISBN 0 6422 4868 0

Case Study - Oceans

Tourism in the Great Barrier Reef

The tourism industry offers a range of experiences to visitors to the Great Barrier Reef, adjacent to the coast of Queensland. Tourist vessels range from large catamarans to small operators and charter boats. Popular activities include reef viewing, snorkelling and enjoying the beauty of the reefs and its islands.

Around two million people have visited the Great Barrier Reef in 1994-95 on commercial vessels, sixty-five per cent of visitation being concentrated on fifteen reefs and 10.5 per cent of visitation on Green Island alone. Revenue from tourism has been estimated at A$682 million per annum, compared to A$128 million for commercial fishing.

The impacts of tourism activities are managed through monitoring of pontoons and marinas, and other regulatory means, as outlined in permits. Education for tourists is also an important management tool. The implementation of a recent review of the marine park permit system have seen greater emphasis being placed on education, training and self regulation to encourage responsible use of the marine park.

Another important tool for managing the impact of tourism on the Great Barrier Reef has been the development of site management plans, in consultation with stakeholders. Under the provisions of those plans, tourism operators are required to have a permit which sets out the conditions of use of the marine park.

In 1993, an environmental management charge of one dollar per passenger was introduced for visitors to the reef who are carried by commercial tour operators. This levy, which is collected by the operators, contributes to the management of the marine park, including funding the cooperative research centre for work on the ecologically sustainable development of the Great Barrier Reef.

The cooperative research centre is undertaking three major research programs on the status of the Great Barrier Reef, reef-human interactions and engineering. Tourism research focuses on reef experiences in a range of natural and social conditions, establishing a databank of reef users statistics and developing techniques for assessing environmental and social impacts of tourism activities.