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Visitor statistics show whale shark tourism on the rise
The whale shark tour industry in Western Australia's Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area has once again attracted a record number of visitors.
Visitor statistics show nearly 17,500 passengers were transported to the Ningaloo Marine Park this season, compared to 14,286 during the 2010 season.
The whale shark watching season traditionally runs from early March to July/August each year.
Western Australian Environment Minister Bill Marmion congratulated the operators - who are licensed by the Department of Environment and Conservation - and the tourism industry, for recording another best-ever season, stating "the strength of the whale shark tourism industry has not only met the challenges of the global economic downturn, but it has also shown a great capacity to demonstrate that nature-based tourism and conservation management are complementary.
"The number of tours increased by 11.8% from the 2010 season and there was a similar rate of contact with whale sharks during the tours. The increase in visitors swimming with the whale sharks is a reflection of highly successful co-operative marketing efforts in raising awareness of the Ningaloo region as an exciting holiday destination.
"The World Heritage listing of the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage earlier this year further affirms Ningaloo's position as one of the State's most significant attractions."
This year's results have shown a 22.4% increase from 2010 and 130% increase from the number of tour participants in 2006.
4th July 2011 - WA WELCOMES NINGALOO COAST’S WORLD HERITAGE LISTING
18th January 2010 - WORLD HERITAGE NOMINATION FOR NINGALOO
9th October 2009 - NEW PROGRAM TO OFFER UNIQUE NATIONAL PARK EXPERIENCES
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