Tourists are being warned about the dangers of UV radiation as part of a new campaign by Melanoma Tasmania, which also hopes to see UV meter readers installed at tourist hot spots across the state.
The campaign Don’t Take Mel Home will see tourism and hospitality operators spreading the sun safety message to tourists and dispersing brochures that educate about sun protection to minimise the melanoma risk.
Melanoma Tasmania also eventually hope to see UV meter readers installed at prominent, high-traffic tourist destinations such as Cradle Mountain and Freycinet National Park where the high altitudes increase the risk of sun damage.
Melanoma Tasmania founder Di Mason said many tourists believe sun protection is not needed in Tasmania due to its cooler climates, and many suffered sunburn as a result.
“A lot of people think sunburn is connected to heat or temperature but it is actually the UV that does damage to the skin,” Mrs Mason said.
“We want people to come and enjoy everything outdoors that our island state has to offer but to be aware that our UV risk is quite high,” she said.
“We have very clean air, and we don’t have humidity or pollution, and these things usually reflect UV. People don’t know these things and they underestimate the risk.”
Mrs Mason said anecdotally, tourists were getting badly sunburnt.
“Tourism operators try and warn the people who come to stay with them that they need to use sun protection, but tourists see temperatures in the early twenties and think they don’t need to bother,” Mrs Mason said.
“One lady went out on a slightly cooler and cloudy day and returned absolutely red raw, where her lips were blistered.”
Mrs Mason said a long-term goal was to get UV meters that capture real time data to inform tourists.
“There is an existing UV meter in Australia but we are hoping that we can develop something that is more affordable and aesthetically pleasing in our environments.
Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania chief executive officer Luke Martin said tourism operators would help spread the sun smart message to tourists.