COVID-19 DELAYS MUSEUM OF UNDERWATER ART LAUNCH
The official opening of the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) will be postponed to allow the tourism industry time to deal with the unprecedented challenges being faced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
MOUA Board Chair Paul Victory said given the uncertainty surrounding the time frame imposed on travel restrictions, the Board has made the decision to delay the John Brewer Reef ‘Coral Greenhouse’ official launch which was scheduled to go ahead later this month.
“The past few weeks have had a devastating toll on the tourism industry and those impacts are expected to continue to be felt into the foreseeable future. We need to allow operators time to deal with the immediate challenges in front of them before they can even start considering what a new tourism offering is going to look like,” Mr Victory said.
“The Expression of Interest process for Commercial Tourism Operators (CTOs) looking to conduct tours to John Brewer Reef will be extended until such time as there is some degree of normality and operators can begin to look to the future.
We are engaging with Townsville Enterprise to undertake an “experience development” program with commercial tourism operators prior to launching the official tours to the site, this will ensure operators are in the best position possible to reactivate and reopen as soon as appropriate.
“Our thoughts are with the tourism industry during this difficult time, along with our internationally renowned artist Jason deCaires Taylor who also has also been impacted by COVID-19 and will remain in the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future.”
Both Stage One installations of the MOUA have been installed, with the ‘Ocean Siren’ on The Strand and the ‘Coral Greenhouse’ at John Brewer Reef. The works have already been attracting significant national and international media interest and once the site is launched, we are optimistic it will add to the tourism opportunity in the region.
In good news, planning for Stage Two and Stage Three of the MOUA installation will continue through this period and we still are planning for these installations to be completed in 2021 to add to the regional MOUA experience.
Stage One of the MOUA has been made possible through a Queensland Government grant.