Whale Tourism

by Barrie on June 29, 2008

by Barrie | June 29th, 2008  

Although officially not a province of Indonesia anymore, it appears the fledgling new country of East Timor, or Timor Leste as it is preferred to be known, has the possibility of boosting tourist numbers to the region in the form of one of nature’s gentle giants in the ocean. There are been various media reports during the week of Whale Sharks being a drawcard and why not, they are spectacular to see and to swim with. I was fortunate a few times to have swum with these amazing and gentle creatures off the north-west coast of West Australia at Ningaloo Reef Marine Park and believe me, snorkelling with them is an experience of a lifetime not to be missed. Whale Sharks grow up to a length of 20 metres. But how can Timor Leste benefit?. After the Whale Shark season in Australia has finished, these gentle giants migrate north cruising the oceans. Australian researchers have conducted aerial surveys around the waters of Timor Leste in search of the Whale Sharks and estimate their arrival in the waters off this new nation to be around August through to September. This is an excellent opportunity of the country to benefit from these creatures but all they need to do now is improve their infrastructure and security for travellers, as well as, in some manner, provide a safe haven for the Whale Sharks. Perhaps a marine park is in order here.

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