Major changes to the Whitsundays Plan of Management will allow superyachts measuring over 35 metres in length greater access to the Whitsundays area of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Australian government has announced there will be 21 new superyacht anchorages established at carefully selected locations with no corals or other sensitive habitats across the Whitsundays area, one of the iconic sections of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Queensland, Australia.
These new anchorages will provide further tourism opportunities while still protecting the park’s core values and are part of a series of updates to the Whitsunday Plan of Management, an area-specific plan which manages use in the region.
Most changes to the plan will take effect from 2nd August 2017 and will be implemented in stages over the next 12 months.
Marine Tourism is a significant part of the Australian economy and a growing contributor to the country’s tourism offering. Yet, superyachts measuring over 35 metres have been unable to enjoy what the Great Barrier Reef has to offer, with owners forced to take their vessels to Fiji and other South Pacific countries instead.
Superyacht Australia (SA) has been lobbying for the past nine years to allow these superyachts greater access to key spots within the Great Barrier Reef and, as a result, welcome the regulation changes.
Mary Anne Edwards, CEO of Superyacht Australia, said: “The Turnball government has read the superyacht industry economic impact study and understands the value of the jobs and economic benefits of this sector to Australia, regional Australia in particular.
“This small move in regulations will have a big impact on regional economies who can now finally look to see greater utilisation of marina and refit facilities and the enormous spend with local businesses that comes with this.”
Tourism has been identified as one of the five ‘super sectors’ to drive Australia’s prosperity into the future, and the ability for superyachts to cruise in the Great Barrier Reef will attract more vessels to Australia and ensure they stay for longer.
Superyacht Australia is already developing the marketing collateral to make this happen. For example, an exciting new cruising itinerary calling in at all major marinas from Cairns to Tasmania is currently being developed and will be promoted at the Monaco Yacht Show in September.
Australia has some of the most spectacular cruising grounds and attractions in the world, and about 70 percent of all international visitors report enjoying coastal experiences as part of their trip.
The ability for superyachts to cruise in the Great Barrier Reef will attract more vessels to Australia and ensure they stay for longer
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