Myrtle rust continues to confuse on Lord Howe Island

Beautiful view from the summit of Mount Gower (875 meters above sea level), highest point on Lord Howe Island, a pacific subtropical island in the Tasman Sea, belonging to New South Wales, Australia.

Lord Howe Islands confusing case of myrtle rust that can destroy entire ecosystems has cost some travellers tens of thousands of dollars.

While the Lorde Howe Island Board (LIHB) told Travel Weekly last week that only 5 per cent of tracks were closed due to the outbreak and that the Island was largely open for business, some ‘eco tourists’ have been left without following non refundable holidays.

Eco tourism is the idea of a nature first approach to travel, often involving conservation of the destination’s flora and fauna.

Lord Howe Island is an extremely popular destination as it is home to 241 species of indigenous plants of which 47 per cent are unique to the island.

Lord Howe Island is home to 241 species of indigenous plants — 47 per cent of which are found nowhere else in the world — and most of that is found along the island’s world-famous hiking trails.

One U.S couple said they only found out about the cancellations days before they were scheduled to leave for Australia.

Neil Lapetina told 7 life they spent $20,000 on a planned trip, looking to complete the eight hour trek to the peak of Mount Gower.

“We were told that they knew about this on February 3, by their own admission, and if they knew about it (then), then there’s a chance we might have not have paid our non-refundable balance due,” Lapetina said.

“First and foremost, myrtle rust has hit the island hard — our first concern is with the island. We’re confused: if it’s as bad as they say it is, then don’t have people come out.”

The LHIB has since reopened most of the islands Permanent Park Reserve (PPP).

“After extensive monitoring, no new sites of myrtle rust infestation have been located on the island. Importantly, as of yesterday (March 23), there were no active spores at known sites,” LHIB said in a statement.”



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