Tourism

Fears as Great Barrier Reef cops brunt of Cyclone

Hannah Edensor

Hannah Edensor

Cyclone Debbie was already posing a threat to North Queensland coastal tourism, but overnight has battered the region even further, and concerns have popped up about the state of our beloved Reef.

Cyclone Debbie, which was upgraded to a category four storm, is the most severe storm to lash the state since Cyclone Yasi in 2011, the one that saw banana prices fly up and cost about $400 million in tourism dollars.

Over 60 thousand homes are without power in the North Queensland area, which is also littered with fallen power lines, uprooted trees, blocked roads and boats wrenched from their moorings.

There’s no access via roads to areas around Bowen, Airlie Beach and Proserpine, and winds of up to 120km/h continue to rattle Emerald to St Lawrence.

But it’s the Great Barrier Reef that has a lot of tourism heavyweights worried.

Tour operators and emergency crews are yet to determine the extent of the damage to the Reef around tourist magnets like Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach, including the famous ‘heart’.

The Reef is already fragile from severe coral bleaching, and now Dr David Wachenfeld, of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, has told Fairfax the first priority will be “the immediate physical damage in that central part of the storm with high wind speeds”.

“It’s had lots of time for the wave energy to be built up by the winds and for that wave energy to hit the tops of the reefs.”

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority director David Wachenfeld added that combined with bleaching, the “physical damage” to the Reef was a big concern.

“We’ve got two different styles of extreme weather events delivering different coral impacts — but nonetheless killing corals in two different parts of the reef,” he told Fairfax.

“There is some overlap between them but, essentially, each of the three events [the 2016 and 2017 bleaching and Cyclone Debbie] is covering a different large area of the Great Barrier Reef.

“The three of them in conjunction will have delivered a really serious impact in just over a year.”

Queensland Tourism Industry Council boss Daniel Gschwind also told AAP Hamilton Island and the Whitsundays generated about $2 million a day in tourism, and his concern is people will cancel trips after seeing images of the “catastrophic” storm in the media.

“When the images of disasters, strong winds, uprooted trees go around the world and around Australia, some people incorrectly assume that all of Queensland is shut,” he told AAP.

“We don’t want a second wave of damage of people unnecessarily cancelling their holidays.”

Meanwhile, Daydream Island appear to have copped the worst of the storm, with the mammoth winds and rain damaging resorts and properties.

In a statement to media, Daydream Island reps said, “Daydream Island Resort and Spa has along with surrounding areas borne the brunt of Cyclone Debbie today.

“Conditions were extreme with heavy rainfall and strong wind gusts causing damage to the resort and surrounds.

“Whilst conditions are still dangerous outside we aren’t able to ascertain the full extent of damage, however we can initially advise the following has occurred:

  • Extensive damage to vegetation across the island with many uprooted trees;
  • Significant damage to the resort’s jetty and pontoons;
  • The Rejuvenation Spa roof has been lifted with the premises suffering water damage;
  • General water damage to the Main Atrium and accommodation wings from the force of the driving rain;
  • A boardwalk section has lifted away;
  • Two of the three iconic Mermaid statues have been swept away.

“Every guest has been accounted for and are safe as are all our staff.”

“The resort’s priority is the ongoing safety of on-island guests and staff who will need to be taken off island as soon as practical. Daydream Island is endeavouring to contact all guests arriving on Daydream in the near future.”

Picture: Revell Norquay/TwitterSource:Twitter

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

One response to “Fears as Great Barrier Reef cops brunt of Cyclone”

  1. doubt if there would be ANY damage to the reef, as most of it, IS UNDER WATER !!! More stupid scarmongering, by people who are paid enormous amounts of money(many say far too much) to “STUDY” the reef. In other words go scuba diving, whenever they feel like it & getting paid more than the PM to do so.

Leave a Reply

Wholesalers

Wendy Wu is slinging free flights to Japan!

Who doesn’t love free airfares? Seriously though, point them out to us, we’d like to have a chat with them and find out what their problem is.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Travel DAZE 2020 is just around the corner! Have you registered?

Is your diary looking pretty empty in the first week of November? Well, consider it full now thanks to the only industry event of its scale in Australia this year: Travel DAZE 2020!

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

AFTA’s Resilient Mind program yields huge results

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has shared results from its Resilient Mind Program, revealing huge improvements in mental […]

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Club Med gets into the gift card game

This Christmas, your clients can treat friends and family with the gift of a much-needed holiday AND give you a tidy commission in one go!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Bombshells emerge over Western Sydney Airport land deal, as AFP investigates

The stench around the ‘Leppington Triangle’ deal, which saw taxpayers fork out 10 times what the land was valued as, is getting worse by the day.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Australia’s incoming passenger cards to get the chop

Are you one of those people who never seems to have a pen handy to fill out the incoming passenger card post-flight? Rejoice here.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Airline embroiled in website scam duping travellers with fake tickets

Have you purchased some too-good-to-be-true-airfares for your clients recently? You might want to read this.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tourism Fiji’s CEO to exit

After four-and-a-half years at the helm, Matt Stoeckel is saying ‘ni sa moce’ to Tourism Fiji.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Financial reporting and AGM pressure eases for Virgin Australia

The embattled airline has also launched a 20th birthday sale, with fares from just $69, along with a bunch of cheap tickets to and from Melbourne.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Canadian tourist sends “cursed” artefacts back to Pompeii

by Ali Coulton

A travel agent in Italy has received a peculiar package containing “cursed” ancient ruins and a letter of confession.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

New data reveals most popular rental car brands around the world

Ever wondered what the most popular rental car brand is in Latvia? Well, today is your lucky day because we’ve got the answer right here.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

APT takes to the skies with ‘Private Air Tours’

Just like trackpants, Birkenstocks and sourdough baking, it seems privately chartered flights are all the rage right now.

Share

CommentComments