The official opening of Townsville’s 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.
In a statement released on MOUA’s website today, Board Chair Paul Victory said the Board had made the decision to delay this month’s official launch of ‘Coral Greenhouse’ on John Brewer Reef, citing COVID-19 travel restrictions as the primary cause.
“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.
“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. Planning for Stages Two and Three of the MOUA installation is underway, with those pieces expected to be complete in 2021.