Marine park to theme park!

Marine park to theme park!

Great Barrier Reef changes image from marine park to theme park with underwater statues and hotels

Posted on 02.09.2019

A series of man-made tourist attractions announced for the Great Barrier Reef has some tour operators concerned the reef is becoming too much like a theme park, as attempts to bring more tourists to the natural wonder ramp up.

When Whitsundays dive instructor Tony Fontes first swam on the reef in the late 70s, his view of intricate coral mazes was interrupted only by other divers.

Forty years later, statues up to 6 metres long have been submerged in the underwater landscape off the Whitsundays and bookings will soon open for the first underwater accommodation on the reef.

Mr Fontes said the attractions were demonstrating the reef’s departure from pristine to humanised.

“In the past, it was simply the beauty of the reef, the diverse corals and amount of fish life, and things like sharks and manta rays and whales … is why you visit the reef,” he said.

“The tourism industry, desperate to maintain tourist numbers, is looking beyond the natural beauty of the reef because it’s not quite what it was.”

Key points

  • Underwater statues and five-star hotels are some of the new attractions on the Great Barrier Reef
  • Some tourism operators are concerned this will change the reef’s image from pristine marine park to theme park
  • The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority says it’s needed to boost tourism after recent coral bleaching events and cyclones

“The reef has a lot of natural values and that’s why it’s internationally recognised, but some of those natural values today are showing the effects of a range of pressures.” (BGRMP director Jon Day)

Angel Parsons
ABC News






Have a story to tell or news to share?

Let us know by Submitting a News Story

Discover Queensland

Explore all of Queensland’s adventures.

Start Exploring

What's On



Scenic Rim Enduro Series Rd 2

Come Join us at the 2nd Gravity Enduro round for 2020.

Read more



Kooralbyn Valley MTB 12hr/24hr or 6+6 Endurance

Kooralbyn Valley MTB 24hr Endurance Dusk til Dawn
Read more



Canoe Leader Training Course

Is it time to get recognised qualifications for your outdoor recreation skills?
Read more

Latest News

COVID-safe plans for field sports & fitness

Queensland chief health officer approves industry plans

Read more
Cycling Boom puts focus on keeping riders safe

Focus on keeping riders safe

Read more
Volunteer Marine Rescue QLD funding uncertain

Volunteer Marine Rescue Queensland calls for urgent decision on funding future

Read more

Become a member

We welcome applications for new Community and Green Circle Members from organisations and individuals involved in the outdoors

Learn More
Tail Lights by Georgina Pratten