Economic impacts of Blue Green Algal Blooms on the Gippsland Lakes Tourism Industry-
Victorian Government Department of Sustainability & Environment.
This study assesses the cost to a region of Victoria and its tourism sector of Algal blooms on Victoria’s major lake system.
The need for this project resulted from a massive Blue Green Algal bloom that occurred in the Gippsland Lakes in late December 2007. The outbreak was of the Synococcocus species. Public warnings were issued and signs were erected at over 100 sites around the lakes. The entire Gippsland Lakes system including Lakes Victoria and King and the waters around Lakes Entrance were heavily affected.
The Blue Green Algae bloom continued at densities above the trigger levels set by authorities until 19 May 2008. Many tourism operators and tourism related businesses complained about the impact of the bloom being ‘over dramatised’ in the media and the resultant impact on their businesses.
As part of the study a survey questionnaire was prepared and distributed to industry participants. A number of Local Government databases were combined to provide a list of industry participants for the survey. These findings were then modelled to assess the cost of Algal Blooms to the regional economy.
Benefit to client
The results of the study and its survey provided the information to assist the East Gippsland and Wellington Shire Councils and the Gippsland Lakes Taskforce to plan for the management of future blooms and to lobby relevant agencies and organisations to provide assistance to the local tourism industry.