Shark Attacks Crippling Tourism in WA
Studies show that shark attacks are deterring tourism to Western Australia, affecting the profitability and threatening the future of camping and caravan parks in the area. In fear of shark attacks, fewer people are choosing Western Australia as a holiday destination in favour of more beach-friendly locations. This particularly applies to young families, who have young children who are more vulnerable and less able to make quick and effective judgements in the case of danger.
The Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has openly talked about the fact that she is certain that shark attacks off Western Australian coast are discouraging holidaymakers from choosing it as a holiday destination. This particularly applies to international tourists, but also to Australian travellers looking to holiday interstate.
Troy Buswell said in December last year, when there was a sharp increase in the number of fatal attacks across Australia, that it might be worth readdressing the protected status of great white sharks. Since then, WA Premier Colin Barnett’s controversial shark culling policy has been implemented, with debated success.
In the first three weeks of Barnett’s culling, 66 sharks were caught and 17 killed, none of which were actually great whites – the species responsible for the fatal attacks off Western Australia.
The issue of shark attacks being as a deterrent for tourism is no new issue, however. But the increase in attacks in recent years is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
The bright side for Western Australian camping and caravanning parks is that many local Western Australian tourists will likely still visit, but perhaps be more inclined to choose inland sites as opposed to beach-side destinations.