The Great Barrier Reef has been valued at $56 billion.

Deloitte Access Economics has calculated the economic, social and iconic value of the world heritage site, and found that Reef tourism is worth about $29 billion, recreational uses like diving and fishing contribute $3 billion, and the brand value is about $24 billion.

The report is available here.

The valuation shows the economic risk of events like the back to back coral bleaching events which have devastated the reef, and the threat of increased climate variability.

“We have already lost around 50 per cent of the corals on the GBR in the last 30 years. Severe changes in the ocean will see a continued decline ahead of us,” Deloitte’s report states.

“Today, our Reef is under threat like never before. Two consecutive years of global coral bleaching are unprecedented, while increasingly frequent extreme weather events and water quality issues continue to affect reef health,” says Dr John Schubert AO, Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators says press coverage of bleaching events and the destruction caused by Cyclone Debbie earlier this year have led to a 50 per cent drop in tourist numbers in the Whitsundays, with similar effects along the Queensland coast.

Former US Vice President Al Gore says there are a lot of reasons to think very carefully about the Reef’s future.

“This timely report is a much needed, holistic view of the incredible economic value and opportunities provided by the Great Barrier Reef. Any failure to protect this indispensable natural resource would have profound impacts not only to Australia but around the world,” he said.