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Monday 6 August 2018

Underwater artworks to become new Whitsundays tourism attraction

Langford Reef in the Whitsunday Islands will become home to new installation of underwater and inter-tidal art.

A trial installation of the artwork is being funded through the Queensland Government and Federal Government’s $7 million Tourism Recovery Fund to assist the Whitsundays tourism industry post Cyclone Debbie.

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen welcomed the new local attraction as a way to drive tourism growth.

“It’s great to see more attractions being installed in the Whitsunday region, to help attract more domestic and international visitors here,” he said.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said four sculptures by local artist Adriaan Vanderlugt were unveiled to the public last weekend at the Whitsundays Reef Festival at Airlie Beach.

“We know that to lure more visitors to the Whitsundays, we need to invest in new tourism product,” she said.

“Tourism is crucial to creating new jobs in this region, that’s why we’re backing this initiative to create a unique attraction in the Whitsundays.

“This artwork will provide a new experience for people travelling to the Whitsundays and will help the marine tourism industry recover after Cyclone Debbie.

“Around the world - from the Caribbean, to the Maldives, Spain, Bali and Australia’s west coast, underwater art has been used to lure visitors." 

The artworks include fish, a nudibranch mollusc and a crab and vary in size with the nudibranch 1.8 metres long and weighing about 300 kilograms.

Reef Ecologic Director Dr Adam Smith said “The four artworks will provide a ‘proof of concept’ research opportunity to document the reactions of locals and tourists visiting the artworks in a marine setting,” he said.

“We propose to install the artworks in early August and move them from the beach to intertidal to underwater environments a month at a time and the artworks will be secured and monitored to prevent interference and damage.”

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