Townsville City Council has been working towards building and maintaining a Sustainable Destination, in line with Council’s Corporate Plan goal of creating a sustainable destination that embraces and participates in the arts, sports, events and recreational activities and maintaining Eco-Certified Sustainable Destination status. This supports Council’s vision of a globally connected community driven by lifestyle and nature and Council’s purpose – to grow Townsville.
Local initiatives are building:
- tourism that benefits the environment and attracts visitors
- experiences and interactions with visitors that contribute to restorative and regenerative practices across our region
- building an interconnected web of business, community and industry participating in authentic sustainability
- a shift in perspective of tourism as part of a greater “living system” in Townsville.
Our Journey so Far
The City continues to grow environmentally along with modern industries, information technology and sustainability initiatives. Council is working to amplify the opportunities available for nature-based, regenerative tourism experiences that integrate global best practices.
25+ Years of Sustainability Practice
Council held its first ecotourism workshops in 1998 and produced an ecotourism strategy in 2000. Innovative environmental projects continue to be embedded in the foundation of Townsville.
Environmental Planning, Interpretation and Strategy
Council has supported management and conservation plans across decades. In the last few years, Sustainable Destination has been incorporated into:
- TCC Corporate Plan (20-24)
- TCC Annual Operating Plan (22-23)
- TSV Reef Guardian Plan (20-24)
- TCC Environmental Policy
Green Travel Leader and Featured in the Green Travel Guide
Operating for 16 years, local school students and community have discovered Learnscapes across our region through TCC Sustainability Tours. Council was awarded Green Travel Leader by Ecotourism Australia for providing Advanced Ecocertification products for 10 years. This is featured along with other tourism operators in Townsville under Ecotourism Australia.
Top 100 Sustainable Destination stories
Townsville was awarded Top 100 Sustainable Destinations in the world in 2020 and 2021 alongside the likes of Galapagos Islands and the Bay of Plenty by global certification group Green Destinations.
Learnscape Education and Interpretation
The City is a Learnscape
Spread across Townsville is a network of educational and interpretative facilities and people utilising world-leading thematic communication methods based on cognitive psychology, which is about how the human brain works.
This includes visual, audio and sensory signage along boardwalks, viewing platforms and sites of significance. Building on Townsville’s credentials as a training hub for thematic communications, Townsville educators utilise behavioural science techniques to create engaging content that influences and inspires people to think more deeply about the places they visit. This leads to enhanced environmental stewardship and positive environmental behaviours as well as increased likelihood of sharing this knowledge with others.
Townsville City Council is committed to providing an infrastructure base that supports more sustainable and equitable choices, addresses the needs of residents and visitors, engages local business and Indigenous owned business to grow Townsville, and improves accessibility for all.
We are Reef People that Connect Through Environmental Stewardship
Learnscapes are scattered across the catchment from Creek To Coral. The network of learnscape communications - from the upper catchment down to the lower catchment and out to the Reef - educate visitors on the many ecosystem services that our diverse landscapes provide.
Rowes Bay Sustainability Centre
The Rowes Bay Sustainability Centre (Google map) is a hub of environmental education and interpretation experience built over 20 years ago and the hub of many tours and workshops to learn about sustainable living and discover the hidden secrets of Townsville’s wetlands. The Centre teaches people how to save water and energy and utilise natural resources available on site. The Rowes Bay Wetland and Boardwalk enables people to discover how wetlands are important for protecting our precious reefs and gain knowledge and appreciation of native plants and trees.
Riverway EcoActive Centre
The EcoActive Centre (Google map) is an educational hub connected to the Learnscapes network and Rowes Bay Sustainability Centre. It is an interpretative point located at Riverway Lagoon and provides scenic views across Ross River and river ecosystems. The centre is a gathering place to learn about stories of energy, waste and water from Creek To Coral, and habitats full of biodiverse life located along the Ross including wetland birds, frogs, and reptiles.
We are a Training Hub for Thematic Communications
Townsville has secured a license to deliver Thematic Interpretation educational training and learning experiences in Townsville that are accessible to all.
Sam H. Ham is a professor emeritus of communication psychology and conservation social sciences. He has delivered comprehensive training for professionals and change makers in Townsville, transforming the communications space over the past 15 years.
The Ecodestination Framework (EF) reflects the vision and goals of the Townsville City Council Corporate Plan and mission to grow Townsville. The EF has been developed to provide insight, support and opportunity for community, tourism and business for the local sustainable management, development and marketing of tourism across Townsville City and Surrounds. The EF promotes Ecodestination leadership in connection and support with regional tourism operators. It is a supportive framework that accommodates existing regional development and marketing campaigns and plans. Additionally, it provides a snapshot of the unique natural and social landscape of Townsville as well as existing and proposed sustainable management methods, ecotourism infrastructure and growing ecotourism opportunities and sustainable experiences.
A strong focus of Council is creating opportunities for community that are:
- low cost
- socially acceptable
- and that grow Townsville.