A new plan to develop an underwater museum at the Great Barrier Reef is being hailed as a game changer for the Australian tourism industry.
Prominent artist Jason deCaires Taylor is set to visit the reef in July in order to scope out the possibilities of designing an underwater Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The SeaLink Travel Group confirmed the plan and spoke of the excitement in the tourism industry and also the potential revenue the development could bring.
A spokesman stated: "If the scale of our investment is significant enough, it has the potential to create a local marine tourism industry that we don’t currently have that’ll encompass both the arts and our indigenous heritage."
He added that this would give the region something totally unique, instead of trying to compete with destinations such as the Whitsunday Islands, which also offer multiple diving excursions.
The museum would be the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The first underwater museum was opened in Grenada and is now listed as one of the Top 25 Wonders of the World by National Geographic Magazine. The Museo Subacuático de Arte, which is situated off the coast of Mexico, saw visitor numbers to the region increase by 400,000 just one year after it opened back in 2009.
As well as seeing an increase in tourism, it is hoped that the installations will also bring in a new generation of youngsters who are interested in marine conservation.
Dr Paul Marshall, a leading reef ecologist, said that the museum would bring many new opportunities for people to connect with the underwater world.
"The fate of coral reefs is front and centre both nationally and internationally," Dr Marshall explained.
"An underwater art museum opens up a whole new suite of options for locals and tourists to connect with the reef."