The Tourism sector in the Whitsundays has expressed interest in advancing their mitigation and becoming greater stewards of the Reef. The council is leading the region to become a certified Sustainable Destination. The Hub worked with the Griffith Institute for Tourism (GIFT) to develop the project plan.
The Hub has developed the Whitsundays “Healthy Heart” Project to decarbonise the tourism sector, whilst achieving earthCheck and Sustainable Destination accreditation for the region. The project provides an opportunity for engaged partners within the local tourism sector to set higher and more ambitious targets for climate change mitigation, to improve the health of our reef and lead the way towards our region achieving a zero net emissions target by 2050.
This project is collaborating with local businesses to assist them in lowering their environmental footprint and support sustainable recovery. The project is currently engaging with marine tourism operators, marinas, and island resorts. The project will upscale and measure the sector's achievements annually and assist with Council’s achievement of a sustainable destination certification. A certification will provide positive marketing opportunities and help build the Whitsundays brand as the Healthy Heart of the Great Barrier Reef.
The project is made possible via collaboration with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation through the Reef Islands Initiative*. The GIFT developed the project plan and provided a review of suitable certification programs for operators as well as opportunities for the Whitsunday destination as a whole. GIFT’s initial project planning was co-funded by Climate Realities and the Whitsunday Climate Change Innovation Hub.
The aims of this collaborative four-year project are to:
Improve collaboration on climate change mitigation in the region
Build resilience to climate change
Recruit a minimum of 80 tourism operators / related businesses to actively measure and reduce their carbon footprint
Make the Whitsundays a certified Sustainable Destination
Define barriers to decarbonisation and identify real-life solutions
*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.