The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem.
Tourism operators on the Great Barrier Reef, the reorientation of the visitor rules after an elderly Japanese tourist died while snorkeling on the Australian site, making it the fifth tourist to death since the beginning of November, and the tenth overall this year.
According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the 75-year-old woman was pulled from the water to Moore Reef off the coast of Cairns, 2 hours on Tuesday, during a day trip with Sunlover Reef Cruises.
While the Association of Marine Park tour operators said that the majority of those who died on the Great Barrier Reef were elderly and suffered from pre-existing medical conditions, the number of deaths is double that of the standard.
“We are very proud of the fact that we are the safest snorkeling in the world, we need to sit down and have a really close look at all of these events and see if there is anything we can do,” spokesman Col McKenzie told ABC.
In November, two French tourists in their 70s died in the water, as well as a 60-year-old British diver.
There are no decisions to how the rules may change for travelers who want to snorkel or dive the famous world heritage location, but McKenzie claimed that, although the compulsory medical checks were probably not an option because of the cost and the negative effects on tourism, a potential line of questions visitors over a certain age “to recognize that they have been told of the risks of snorkeling and scuba diving” is considered.
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Two million people visit the Barrier Reef every year to see the 1500 species of fish, 400 species of coral (as well as thousands of crustaceans, molluscs and birds), but a study released in April by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies has shown that the reef is in serious danger of extinction of 93 percent of the already affected by a fatal coral bleaching.
The Great Barrier Reef is on the bucket lists of many travelers, but not only for its beauty: The Guardian reported in June that the reef deterioration has led to a significant increase in visitors, partly as a result of the increased publicity about the mass bleaching event. In a study published by the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 69 percent of the tourists said they traveled to the famous site before it disappears completely.
Scientists Discover Secret Reef…Behind the Great Barrier Reef