The Whitsundays aims to be a sustainable destination


The Whitsunday Climate Change Innovation Hub is delivering the Whitsunday Healthy Heart Project, which aims to achieve a sustainable tourism destination rating for the Region.

Funded by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Reef Islands Initiative, the project will work with the Whitsunday Tourism industry to reduce the Region’s carbon footprint.

Leading the Healthy Heart Project is a dedicated project officer, Ms Lee Hawkins, who is based at the Whitsunday Climate Change Innovation Hub in Proserpine.

Ms Hawkins was appointed to the role in April this year and attended the first Steering Group meeting recently to present a range of Sustainable Destination certification options.

“EarthCheck, the world’s leading scientific benchmarking, certification and advisory group for travel and tourism, was selected as the key certification program for this project at our recent meeting,” said Whitsunday Climate Change Innovation Hub Coordinator, Ms Olivia Brodhurst.

“This is a collaborative four-year project, focussing on marine tourism operators in the first year with plans to expand further in following years.”

“Whitsunday tourism operators will be engaged throughout the project and provided with support to understand and improve their carbon footprint.”

“A series of workshops are planned in the next few months and we will be reaching out to marine tourism operators to get involved,” said Ms Brodhurst.

Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said the four-year project aims to help address climate change in the Whitsunday region, create green marketing opportunities and enhance the tourism industry.

“We have committed to achieving a Sustainable Destination certification at the end of this project, to protect our reef and further support the tourism industry’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19,” he said.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said we’re already seeing the effects of climate change in many parts of our Reef and the time to act is now.

“We’re proud to be working towards a carbon neutral Reef industry in the Whitsundays as part of our Reef Islands Initiative, which is protecting the habitats of the thousands of species of marine life that call the Reef home,” Ms Marsden said.

The Reef Islands Initiative is a Great Barrier Reef Foundation program, supported by funding from Lendlease, the Australian Government’s Reef Trust, the Queensland Government and the Fitzgerald Family Foundation.

To find out more, visit: Healthy Heart Project