Hottest 2009 destination facing controversy

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Car Rental News - 24/08/2009


Until recently, the Bay of Fires was one of Australia’s best-kept secrets.

Located on the north-east coast of Tasmania, it is an isolated and stunningly-beautiful spot that was declared by Lonely Planet to be the “hottest” destination in the world for 2009.

It is now mired in controversy that, along with hordes of visitors, has put an end to its tranquillity.

Not long after the Lonely Planet designation, David Bartlett, the state’s premier, announced plans to turn the 20-mile stretch of deserted white sand beaches and coves into a national park. There had been no public consultation on the matter, and it seems that Bartlett forgot about the standing promise to return the Bay of Fires to Aboriginal ownership.

Activist among the Aboriginal population has said that they will blockade the area and reclaim it by force if necessary.

Environmentalists are welcoming the national park designation for the area, but are in disagreement regarding the Aboriginal claim to ownership. Some have accused Tasmanian Aborigines of having poor land management skills, saying that conservation should take precedence over the social issue.

A third special-interest group, comprising tourism and other business operators are anxious to exploit the area’s new found fame and potential to attract international visitors.

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