Townsville has been named as one of this year’s top 100 sustainable destinations in the world alongside the Galapagos Islands and the Bay of Plenty by global certification group Green Destinations.
Mayor Jenny Hill said Townsville was one of only three destinations in Australia on the list, with Lord Howe Island and Douglas Shire also rating a mention by the non-profit group.
“This is an exciting honour for our city and is a fitting reward for all the work that’s been done over more than 20 years to build and promote the sustainability of our city as a destination and to support our local ecotourism industry,” Cr Hill said.
“Townsville is blessed to have three internationally significant environmental or nature conservation areas right on its doorstep – the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area; the Wet Tropics world heritage area; and Bowling Green Bay wetland complex.
“We also have our Town Common Conservation Park, Pinnacles National Park, Ross Dam Wetland of National Significance and Clement State Forest Conservation Area.
“Being named in the Top 100 sustainable destinations in the world will provide a boon for local ecotourism operators, particularly in these times of COVID-19 when people are looking for local holiday options.”
Townsville City Council has been working to build and promote the local ecotourism industry for more than 20 years.
Council held its first ecotourism workshops in 1998 and produced an Ecotourism Strategy in 2000.
Since then, Council has focused on building local ecotourism opportunities by developing environmental interpretation and city-wide ‘learnscapes’ to support the sustainability of the city as a whole in energy, water, nature and people, while integrating smart technology.
Council Community Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability Committee chairperson Margie Ryder said the city’s support for ecotourism also included hosting two international ecotourism conferences in 2006 and 2018.
“The 2018 conference incorporated creating, building and supporting Townsville as a sustainable destination and involved our community and business supporting eight international delegates to travel to our city and participate in the conference,” Cr Ryder said.
“In June this year Council, working with Ecotourism Australia, conducted a Sustainable Destination workshop with operators and businesses centred around our bid and journey to foster and develop Townsville as a certified ECO Destination.
“Being named in the Sustainable Top 100 Destinations in the world and the ECO Destination Certification are important steps for fostering ecotourism, nature-based tourism and jobs within the city and region.”
Destinations included in the top 100 will be featured in a good travel guide, enabling Townsville’s sustainability successes to be shared with travellers across the world.