Tens of thousands of visitors and locals in Tropical North Queensland are today staking out their solar eclipse viewing spot and testing telescopes and cameras ahead of tomorrow’s natural phenomena event of the millennium.
Queensland Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey said much of Tropical North Queensland was at near-capacity with scientists, astronomers and umbraphiles (eclipse chasers) flying in from around the globe over the past few days to experience the region’s first total solar eclipse for more than 1,300 years.
“Between 5.45am and 7.40am tomorrow all eyes will be on the skies of the Tropical North as the moon moves across the sun in a total solar eclipse,” Ms Stuckey said.
“There are a number of prime eclipse viewing spots along the coast, in the air, on the water and inland and the 50,000 to 60,000 visitors here for this event will be busily scoping out their favoured spot if they haven’t already.
“Many people have chosen a Queensland tourism experience to get a bird’s eye view the eclipse such as hot air ballooning over the Atherton Tablelands, watching from the deck of cruise ships and dive boats, or by staying at beach resorts or Great Barrier Reef islands.
“Numerous groups are also combining their visit with scientific conferences so for the many eclipse-chasers who follow these events around the world, it’s a real bonus to be able to combine their passion with such a fantastic holiday experience.”
Tourism Queensland Acting CEO Leanne Coddington said groups of eclipse aficionados had travelled to the region from around the world, including three charter flights of Japanese scientists, six cruise ships moored off the coast, a group of NASA scientists on the Atherton Tablelands, and groups stationed on the beaches between Cairns, Palm Cove and Port Douglas.
“Most eclipse chasers will be in the region for around five to seven days and are expected spend up big on activities including trips to the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree, wildlife zoos, eating out and shopping, injecting millions of dollars into the local economy,” Ms Coddington said.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Rob Giason said the eclipse would give Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef exposure around the world.
"Bookings are strong with between 50,000 to 60,000 people in the region to see the event and an estimated worldwide audience of 20 million watching via our live broadcast with NASA," he said.
The Astronomical Association of Queensland and a team of scientists will work with TTNQ and NASA to present a live web broadcast from Palm Cove, Ellis Beach and the Great Barrier Reef.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland and broadcast partners Panasonic, Telstra, Passions of Paradise, Angsana Palm Cove Resort and Tourism Queensland will be live streaming footage of the eclipse via www.ustream.tv/cairnseclipse2012. General eclipse information can be found at www.eclipse2012.org.au
NOTE FOR MEDIA: Images and vision of the eclipse will be available to media on Wednesday 14 November from www.tq.com.au/eclipse or by emailing email@example.com
[ENDS] 13 November 2012
Media Contact: Minister’s Office: 3224 2002
Tourism Queensland: 3535 5010 / 0426 239 431