Don’t Want to Do Touristy Things with other People! Which is better Tourism or Mining?


Don’t Want to Do Touristy Things with other People! Which is better Tourism or Mining?


I guess a touchy subject depending on which side of the fence you get your pay check.


Mining generally produces the raw materials we all need to drive our cars, build our houses and just about every other man made product we consume!


I decided to write a little article on these two comparisons!


The Great Barrier Reef vs Mining!


Sometimes I have travelers come into our travel shop and say ….. I want to visit the Great Barrier Reef but I don’t want to go with other people and I don’t want to go to where the reef is trashed!


It’s strange some people have this impression that the reef is trashed.


So this got me thinking about tourism, and what are the benefits and downfalls that tourism presents to an area.


So people don’t want to go with other people to visit the reef. I guess it’s the herd mentality if there are other people out on a day trip with you this offers a lesser experience. I understand that overcrowding on a day trip will not be a pleasant experience.


But visiting the reef on a vessel and system that is made to carry larger amounts of people to offer the same experience is still a better option than mining! Isn’t it?


So when I get these questions I start to think about, what if Cairns didn’t have tourism. What if we had heavy industry mining out on the reef to collect the large sums of crude oil and gas sitting under the reefs.


Would this be a better option than tourism for our region?


I’m not having a go at mining but I’m trying to state the obvious. People, we need to work, run business, earn money, buy a house and raise a family. If 70 – 80% of all business in Cairns is directly affected by tourism is this a good thing?


Don’t get me wrong, tourism has large peaks and troughs and with it brings plenty of stress to business owners. But over a one year cycle, tourism is a major generator for the local economy.


Tourism helps to maintain and sustain the local environment for future tourist to come and enjoy.


Speaking to many reef tour company owners this is our bread and butter. So everybody is in the same boat to preserve and protect, maintain and sustain our beautiful natural environment for future tourists and children to visit.


Just another topic in relation to how we consume. There is a saying I remember hearing a shark or reef fish sitting on your plate for dinner earns about $50. Left swimming around out on the reef is worth 200 – 300 thousand dollars in tourists spending money to go out there and take a picture of it in the wild.


We do all need to eat, so fishing is a part of our lives but also the conservation of our marine parks for the future tourism dollars to roll is paramount. It’s all about trying to find that balance.


A great example of tourism helping an economy is Fiji. Without tourism, many Fijians would not be living the lives they are today. The tourist dollar allows an entire country to grow, prosper and work with the natural environment to sustain it for future tourism business.


Tourism allows the preservation of a landscape, allows humans to live there, earn money and also manage and protect it to the best of current human technologies and abilities.


If we say let’s forget tourism and go down the heavy industry mining path ….. what future will that bring to our local World Heritage environments?


So Cairns having a large scale modern tourism industry, you will find large scale tour boats, pontoons and platforms taking large groups of people to see this amazing part of the world.


But just have a think is it better to share your experience with other people, in turn helping to preserve the very thing it is you paid to come and see.


Or let’s bag out the tourism industry and bring in the heavy industry sector and see what ends up of our beautiful piece of paradise.



In Conclusion:


So next time your somewhere touristy, think a little bit about the infrastructure behind it and how many local people and families that sustainable approach supports.


Tourism is not the bees knees in solving all our commercial, environmental, sustainable options, there is always room for improvement. It is just a much better option than some of the other ways we treat the planet to produce money.


What are your thoughts? Let’s continue the discussion below:


Clint Carroll is an adventure travel enthusiast, travel blogger, avid scuba diver and founder of based in Cairns, Australia. Connect with Clint on Twitter.