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Tired island resorts hurt the appeal of Great Barrier Reef tourism
Dilapidated island resorts are damaging Queensland's tourism industry and the Great Barrier Reef's international appeal, according to Queensland Environment and Great Barrier Reef Minister Steven Miles.
During an address at the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) reef forum in Brisbane on Friday, Minister Miles introduced a Queensland Government-led recovery mission for the once successful tourism assets, singling out resorts on Hinchinbrook, Brampton, Hook and Lindeman islands as deteriorating destinations.
Highlighting the locations as high value tourism assets, Minister Miles stated "the embarrassing thing is most (of these resorts) are on State-owned land, including national parks - so to do nothing is unacceptable - we need to take action.
"(Currently) this issue is holding back Queensland's tourism appeal.
"While I appreciate there is genuine interest in rejuvenating some of these island resorts, I'm concerned not enough is being done fast enough to revitalise these stranded tourism assets."
The Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge, the sole accommodation provider on the island off Cardwell, has been in a state of decay since shutting its doors in 2010 because of financial troubles stemming from the global financial crisis.
The resort on Brampton Island, off Mackay, has been closed since 2011, although there has been plenty of talk about redevelopment.
In the Whitsundays, Hook Island's Wilderness Resort is closed and operating in caretaker mode, according to the provider's website.
Nearby, on Lindeman Island, the popular Club Med resort shut in January 2012 but was purchased months later by a Chinese firm, which recently revealed plans for a $500 million-plus boutique resort.
Minister Miles said the Queensland Government needs to deal with issues constraining investment and lead a recovery for the once successful tourism destinations.
He added “these places used to provide jobs, environmental education and unparalleled nature experiences.
"This is a World Heritage area and this issue affects the whole reef ecosystem and its international appeal."
Minister Miles has said it is a great time to promote the reef following UNESCO's draft decision to leave the natural wonder off its world heritage ‘in-danger’ list.
He concluded that the draft decision, which is expected to be adopted later this month, shows the world the reef is still incredibly special.
Early this week QTIC welcomed UNESCO's draft decision not to put the Reef on its ‘in danger’ list, saying that the decision will help boost Reef tourism.
QTIC’s reef forum was held at the Brisbane Sofitel on Friday (5th June) coinciding with World Environment Day.
Meanwhile, the luxury resort on Lizard Island has reopened after being smashed by two cyclones in 14 months.
The island, north-east of Cooktown, was devastated by Cyclone Ita in April 2014, bringing down timber cabins, power lines and other structures.
Buildings were getting repaired when Cyclone Nathan struck in March, causing another multi-million dollar damage bill.
However, management said it was pleased final repair work had been completed allowing the luxury tropical resort to re-open to guests.
Images: Lindeman Island's former Club Med in operation (top), Daydream Island Resort - recently sold to Chinese investors (middle) and the Reef at its best (below).
31st May 2015 - NORTH QUEENSLAND TOURISM WORKS TO PROTECT GREAT BARRIER REEF
30th May 2015 - GREAT BARRIER REEF TO BE SPARED UNESCO ‘IN DANGER’ LISTING
20th May 2015 - NEW OWNERS MOVE FORWARD WITH LINDEMAN ISLAND RESORT DEVELOPMENT
20th February 2015 - MINISTER FOR THE GREAT BARRIER REEF NAMED IN NEW QUEENSLAND CABINET
2nd February 2015 - CHINESE INVESTORS BUY DAYDREAM ISLAND
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