Whitsunday Healthy Heart Project


The Tourism sector in the Whitsundays has expressed interest in advancing their mitigation and becoming greater stewards of the Reef.  The council has the opportunity to lead the region to become a certified Sustainable Destination. The Hub worked with the Griffith Institute for Tourism (GIFT) to develop the project plan and review suitable certification programs for operators and the Whitsunday destination as a whole. 


The Hub has developed the Whitsundays “Healthy Heart” project to decarbonise the tourism sector, whilst achieving Sustainable Destination accreditation for the region. 


This project will collaborate with businesses and assist them to lower their environmental footprint and support sustainable recovery. The project will upscale and measure the sector's achievements annually and assist with Councils achievement of a sustainable destination certification (Earthcheck/EcoTourism Australia). A certification will provide marketing opportunities and help to 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
  • Create green marketing opportunities 
  • Enhance recovery from COVID-19

Get Involved

For further information on this project contact Lee Hawkins at Lee.hawkins@whitsundayrc.qld.gov.au or call (07) 4945 0209.