When people think about Australia, the first words come out might be sunlight, beach and fresh air. Indeed, Australia is the top ten countries for human beings to live by virtue of its favorable natural environment and acceptable living pressure. Historically, long time ago, Australia was a landmass which is closed to Earth’s southern pole. With time goes by, the continent keeps moving and drifting to its current location, then coral reefs began to form along parts of its coastline and continental shelf around 25 million years ago.
Since then, coral growth to grow and decline considerably due to climate change and sea level change. Nearly 600,000 years ago the reef structure began to develop and eventually became now we called the Great Barrier Reef. The formation of coral is a long process, for centuries, corals and reefs growing and dying again and again. The current living structure human can see in the Great Barrier Reef has been growing for nearly 20,000 years until now.
Along the Australian coast of Queensland, there are a large number of reefs located on the Coral Sea, and it is the largest structure on Earth made by living beings, which is so large that it can be seen from space and even larger than the Great Wall in China, and it is commonly regarded as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The scope of this natural beauty covers about 130,000 square miles of seabed and consists of 900 islands and nearly 3,000 individual reefs. Further, The Great Barrier Reef is precious not only because of its incredible and amazing form history but also because there is a diverse range of living organisms, which includes thousands of species of plants and animals.
The Great Barrier Reef is a vital component in Australia ecosystem. It is the largest coral reef ecosystem on earth and, as pointed out before, it is the home to an amazing diversity of species and habitats. The Great Barrier Reef owns the significance in domestic and global views, those corals are essential components in Queensland waters and includes remarkable biodiversity.
The discovery and adventure on the reef occurred from May to August 1770, when a man called James Cook sailed the length of the Great Barrier Reef. On 11 June, Caption Cook met some troubles and was forced to spend six weeks repairing the ship at the site of modern Cooktown, then the international scientific community begin to know that the Reef existed, and that it was of very great extent. When Caption Cook and his party done all repairs, he made a decision to explore the open sea. However, the party failed to find a way through the natural barrier. In order to get a good view, they land on the Lizard Island and climbed to its highest point, which is known as Cook’s Passage. In a word, the Great Barrier Reef has huge historic significance.
Nowadays, in Queensland, tourism is one of the dominant economic activities since the Reef itself a major domestic and international tourist attraction. According to the official statistics, after 2007, the number of tourists spend on the waterside reefs and islands has remained virtually unchanged. But the total number of visitor day/night growing by 4% to 42.8 million in June 2012. International visitors also occupy a significant part of this amount. Countries including America and UK have traditionally been key source markets to the tropical north Queensland region. Although in the past decade, the number of tourists coming from those two countries have dropped off, this weakness was offset by relative strength in domestic visitors, which grow by 9% over the five years period. Domestic overnight visitors remain the key source of tourism for the catchment, accounting for over 57% of all visitor days/nights spent in the region.
For human being, the Great Barrier Reef is a treasure, it is one of the best tourism attraction and should be pay more attention to. People living in Sydney love the Great Barrier Reef. Based on the street interview I have done. When talking about the top travelling destinations in Australia, it would be 100% in the list. Locals prefer to enjoy the sunlight and do water sports there. They said one of the attractions of their country is the amazing natural environment, the sea, sand beach and the species. The Great Barrier Reef enjoys the huge popularity among the world and they feel so proud of it. Globally, tourists, international students and other people who come from different nations hold the view that it is a symbol of Australia. They probably will travel to the Great Barrier Reef before they come back to their own countries. One of them who come from India named Sachin Chaudhary said developing economy and industry should worry about the condition of its health.
I have been to the reef last year, it is an amazing and unforgettable experience for me. The health and importance of those corals and reefs should be taken into the authorities, publics and the business sector’s consideration, because it is a present from the nature. The reef also has long history, takes long time to form and become a well known tourism attraction and bring economic value. People need to cherish it. We won’t get another one.
(Photos: Yuting Li)