Home #WHERETONEXT Australia & New Zealand Sustainability News in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

Sustainability News in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

Tropical North Queensland is the most eco-certified destination in Australia with 72 active eco-certified companies and 27 businesses undertaking the process with Ecotourism Australia. Tourism Tropical North Queensland is consulting with all sectors of the tourism industry including accommodation, tour operators, hospitality venues and Indigenous groups to develop sector-specific strategies that will guide the tourism industry to achieving Net Zero before 2050. Tropical North Queensland is one of two regions in Queensland selected to undertake phase 2 of the Queensland Tourism Climate Action Plan providing carbon benchmark data and recommended pathways after completing phase 1.

Here are the latest initiatives in the region.

Photo Tropic Wings

Tropic Wings is set to revolutionise its fleet with the introduction of 12 cutting-edge Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). The estimated total project costs $10.2 million, with $4.75 million secured from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). In January 2024, Tropic Wings announced the introduction of the first of their first three Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) as a groundbreaking initiative in their sustainable and tourism transport project. As the sole tour operator in Australia to integrate fully electric coaches into its tours, Tropic Wings is leading the industry in reducing carbon emissions and promoting eco-friendly travel. These new BEVs will be deployed for trips to iconic destinations such as the Daintree Rainforest, Mossman Gorge, and Kuranda, providing tourists with a unique and environmentally conscious travel experience.

Photo Sailaway

Sailaway Port Douglas has introduced the Great Barrier Reef’s first electric glass-bottom boat at carbon-neutral Low Isles, just one hour from Port Douglas. Using renewable energy sources including wind and solar, the e-tender is used to shuttle guests to the island and for reef viewing tours with the Sailaway marine biologist. Sailaway is a Climate Action Leader and offsets carbon by contributing to reforesting in the local World Heritage rainforest.

Photo TTNQ

Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort has become the first North Queensland resort to achieve Ecotourism Australia’s Sustainable Tourism Certification. Recognised for its commitment across environmental, social, cultural, and sustainable management aspects, the resort’s certification marks a significant achievement in international best-practice sustainability.  Located at the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, the resort has implemented innovative solutions such as a biodiversity reef restoration program, a partnership with ecoSPIRITS, and an Indigenous employment scheme. The certification, launched by Ecotourism Australia in late 2023, highlights the growing demand for sustainable tourism experiences and encourages accommodations to lead in global sustainability standards.

Photo Phlip Vids

Mt Mulligan Lodge, nestled in North Queensland’s outback, has attained the prestigious Ecotourism Australia – Eco Certified Advanced Tourism accreditation, cementing its position as a leader in sustainable travel. The recognition highlights the lodge’s commitment to minimising its ecological footprint, protecting local ecosystems, and engaging in responsible tourism practices. Guests can anticipate an immersive eco-friendly experience, surrounded by the untamed wilderness.

Cairns Airport is collecting food scraps and coffee grounds for local community gardens to grow more food as part of their Environmental Strategy. Initiatives like these led to Cairns Airport being crowned Airport of the Year twice in 2023, winning the Major Airport of the Year category at the Australian Airports Association (AAA) National Airport Industry Awards and being named Airport of the Year at the Australian Aviation Awards. Cairns Airport also took out the Airport Excellence Award for Sustainability for their Australia-first Sustainability Linked Loan agreement, which features a unique target committing to regenerating threatened species.