Australia’s tourism c ompanies complicit in ignoring climate change
Which raises the question, why isn’t the Mantra Group – one of Australia’s largest hotel and resort operators, with more than $8bn in asset management including a string of resorts in north Queensland – vociferous in demanding action to save the reef?
The question could not be more pertinent given the return of the threat of coral bleaching.
Nor have any of these companies spoken out strongly against the Carmichael coalmine proposal – despite the mortal threat that fossil-fuel expansion poses to the reef their businesses depend on.
As the Queensland Tourism Industry Council boss, Daniel Gschwind, told the Monthly:
“It’s hard to see how the further development or expansion of the coal industry can support or in any way contribute positively to the future of the reef … There is no denying that the further extraction and burning of fossil fuels is a negative for the reef.”
Port Douglas sits at the hinge of the central and northern sectors of the Great Barrier Reef.
Presumably a large number of those who choose to stay in resorts like the Mantra Aqueous – or the Accor-owned Sea Temple or the Marriott-owned Sheraton Mirage, both also in Port Douglas – have been drawn there by the promise of the reef.
And while the vast majority of the reef experienced some damage, it is the northern sector that experienced the worst.
Last November a team of experts from James Cook University led by Prof Terry Hughes estimated that two-thirds of the corals in the reef’s northern part had died.
I snorkelled some of the impacted areas. I’d seen plenty of images and vision but nothing really prepares you for the scale of the carnage when the algae-covered remains spread out beneath you, all around, in every direction, as far as your goggled eyes can see.
Gschwind believes that most tour operators are not just on the reef “to make a buck” but rather “have a deep, almost spiritual, connection to the places they visit and take their visitors to” so “their interest is very much also in conservation”. The 170 tourism operators who wrote an open letter to the prime minister last year opposing the Carmichael coalmine are no doubt in this category.
But in the fight for the reef’s future, the big end of the tourism street has gone missing. The likes of Mantra, Accor and Marriott profit from the astonishing beauty of the fish and the coral – but where is the much-vaunted corporate leadership when the Great Barrier Reef needs defenders?……. https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/17124327/posts/1356978618
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