Last-Chance Tourism Creates Paradox For Environmental Tourists

Many travellers have recently added another site to visit to their bucket list: Australia’s renowned Great Barrier Reef. Their motivation behind wanting to see this landmark stems from the wish to “see it before it is gone,” a notion now recognized as “last-chance tourism.”

Last-chance tourism is a phenomenon that has risen in recent years and is a thriving industry. Anna Piggot-McKellar and Karen McNamara from The University of Queensland define last-chance tourism as a “niche tourism market focused on witnessing and experiencing a place before it disappears.” In simpler terms, it describes people who hope to see a location that is facing extinction or is near death before it dematerializes completely.

Tourism on the Great Barrier Reef is vital to Australia’s economy, contributing to 1.9 million collective visitors days in 2013 and 65,000 careers. Some industry observers fear that while the reef’s decay would be responsible for bringing in more visitors over a short duration of time, it could bring ill effects in the long term.

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