The Conservation Planning Group Applied conservation research

Does tourism really suffer at sites listed as World Heritage In Danger?

A recent article in The Conversation explores the possible impact for tourism on the Great Barrier Reef given the potential for listing of the Reef as World Heritage in Danger. Jon Day (PhD candidate in the ARC Centre for Coral Reef Studies) outlines the impacts for tourism at three other famous World Heritage destinations – Galapagos, Everglades and Belize.  All these sites have been, or still are, listed as In-Danger and remain in the spotlight of the World Heritage Committee. As the article points out, In-Danger has had very little impact on visitor numbers to these sites; it therefore suggests a more effective strategy for the Reef might be that the relevant agencies and operators alike should create realistic expectations, and responsibly inform tourists of the real situation.

Some of the comments on the article at the bottom of the webpage are also interesting, with some advocating a “See it before it’s too late” marketing approach for the Reef. Others suggest a “Visit to fix it” approach should be the collaborative goal of both science and the tourism industry.

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About Us
We are a multidisciplinary group of researchers at James Cook University, interested in all aspects of conservation planning and led by Prof. Bob Pressey. We are based at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, the College of Marine & Environmental Sciences, the College of Business, Law & Governance, and the Cairns Institute. We collaborate widely with conservation biologists and practitioners worldwide. 

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