While diving Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is most likely on just about every diver’s Bucket List, it looks like a fair number of divers want to experience it before climate change somehow eradicates it.
A new study published in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism and written by Annah Piggott-McKellar and Karen McNamara from the University of Queensland finds that 70 percent of tourists visiting the Reef are doing it because they want to see it while it still exists.
The authors used answers from 235 questionnaires given to on-site tourists. The results of the study found that those tourists are “more environmentally conscious, and have a higher level of concern about the overall health of the GBR.”
Coral bleaching and climate change were among their top concerns, according to the study:
“Based on projections, the GBR will continue to suffer from increased coral bleaching events, sea level rise and a decrease in water quality. . . . The significance of these threats and associated lag time before threats are actually felt in the region, coupled with the sheer size of the region, make it more difficult to protect and manage the GBR. Due to this, the future health of the GBR and its natural values remain, at best, uncertain.”
The Great Barrier Reef saw more than 1.9 million tourist visitor days during 2013, according to the report, supporting 65,000 full-time jobs and providing billions of dollars to the Australian economy every year.
To read the full report, check it out here.