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QTIC shares details of five point plan to improve safety in Whitsunday waters
In response to the recent shark attacks at Cid Harbour, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council has advised of its role in working with the local industry, Tourism Whitsundays, government agencies and the relevant Ministers to find what it calls a “rational response” to the challenges posed by the incidents.
Advising that “the last thing the region needs is ongoing sensationalised coverage that has the potential to inflict more and unnecessary damage on the community and the operators”, QTIC adds “our primary concern always is and always will be visitor safety and our thoughts are with the victims and their families.”
A roundtable meeting held last Friday at Airlie Beach agreed to pursue a five-point plan and committed to ongoing safety education and new research.
The plan will include:
• $250,000 towards scientific research into shark prevalence and behaviour in Cid Harbour;
• Maintaining Cid Harbour as a no-swim zone until that assessment is complete;
• A high-profile education campaign to immediately educate locals and visitors about shark safety;
• Development of a broader SharkWISE education campaign, similar to the successful CrocWISE campaign running in North Queensland; and
• Continue to meet with industry stakeholders and experts to develop and progress responses.
Speaking after the meeting, Queensland Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones stated “we’ve listened to the advice of marine scientists and the local tourism industry and have a five-point plan to improve safety in the waters off the Whitsundays.
“All the experts agree that education is the key – that’s why, as a direct result of today’s roundtable, we’ve committed to a ‘SharkWISE’ campaign to educate people about the risks of swimming in some locations.
“The recent shark attacks in Cid Harbour were unprecedented and demonstrate that we need to do more to understand shark behaviours.
“That’s why we’ve also committed $250,000 for research so we can get a better grasp on these behaviours.
“We acknowledge the offer by the Prime Minister to assist and request that the Federal Government, responsible for Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, match our funding for this research.
“The Whitsundays is one of the most beautiful places in the world and we want to make sure people are as safe as possible when they come to visit.”
Queensland Fisheries Minister Mark Furner stated “today was all about getting stakeholders together to discuss a longer-term solution.
“Experts put forward compelling evidence about the dangers of swimming in Cid Harbour. As a result, today we’re recommending Cid Harbour as ‘no swim zone’.
“We’ve increased the amount of signage in the area and we’ll ramp up our public messaging to make sure locals and visitors, including Schoolies, are as safe as possible in the future.”
QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said tourism operators take their duty of care to their guests very seriously, adding “we owe it to our visitors to apply the best knowledge and science to any challenge.
“We must be able to inform people accurately and truthfully about any risk they might be exposed to, and provide them with guidance on how to enjoy our wonderful environment safely."
6th November 2018 - Third Whitsundays shark attack leads to fatality
24th September 2018 - Conservationist says that Whitsundays shark attacks occurred in swimming ‘no-go zone’
22nd September 2018 - Tiger sharks killed in wake of Whitsundays tourist attacks
7th November 2017 - QTIC advocates for competitive investment in tourism marketing and events
31st October 2017 - QTIC calls for backing for strong tourism future
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