Our beaches are worth millions
WE ALL take it for granted as a Bundaberg way of life and a free day out, but a new study has put the economic value of heading to the beach along the Great Barrier Reef at nearly half a billon dollars a year.
The research, which takes in beaches from Bundy to Port Douglas, was conducted by CQUniversity researchers Professor John Rolfe and Daniel Gregg and shows the significant amount our beaches contribute to the local economy.
"Aussies love that our beaches are free of charge to use, but they don't often consider the huge economic value of beaches themselves," Professor Rolfe said.
The study shows that data collected from more than 1100 households along the Queensland coast is evidence that a day at the beach continues to be one of the favourite things to do in Queensland and a major drawcard to the region.
Bundaberg Regional Councillor Greg Barnes said the local beaches were part of the Bundaberg culture.
"To be able to drive a short distance from the city and visit miles of deserted beaches is wonderful," he said.
"The tourism dollar value of stinger-free beaches is a huge drawcard."
According to the data, Bundaberg residents visit the beach an average of 46 times a year with each trip costing about $36.
As a result the estimated cost of beach access in the Bundaberg region is a staggering $49 million.
The research also included the beaches of Gladstone Capricorn, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns. In total the estimated value of beaches along the Great Barrier Reef was more than $450 million.
Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism general manager James Corvan said it's no surprise that Australians relate to the beach.
"Australian's love the beach, it's part of our psyche," Mr Corvan said.
"It's important we show what is different about our beaches so we can encourage visitors to our region.
"We need to look after our beaches and make sure our facilities are competitive."