Blog post

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef – the home of sustainability

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is in an enviable position. Gateway to two World Heritage-listed icons – the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, and a regional city, local business events professionals and companies that are acutely aware of their responsibility for the ongoing sustainability of not just the Tropical North Queensland environment but those who call it home.

Look up the dictionary definition of sustainability, and you will find two meanings:

  1. the ability to be sustained
  2. the quality of not being harmful

Sustainability has evolved so rapidly that business events planners and delegates expect destinations and suppliers to implement the most basic practices. Think water stations, wooden or mobile phone room keys, digital compendiums over reams of paper, LED fixtures over incandescent, and a solid commitment to waste reduction.

Sustainability is critical

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef has committed to more than just environmental sustainability, and as a regional destination, recognising the different layers of sustainability is critical. Ranging from programs calculating and offsetting carbon to encouraging the engagement of eco-accredited operators to deliver touring programs that work to preserve our natural assets, low food miles menus and experiences with local indigenous guides are just some of the initiatives the destination is committed to.

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef’s population is resourceful and resilient. 70% of the gross regional product is tourism driven, and one in six jobs directly contributes to tourism. Hence, it makes sense to our business events community to be innovative, collaborative, partnership-driven and accessible to delegates of all abilities.

Delegates can immerse themselves in nature

Enter the creation of the Accessibility Hub, a unique and collaborative hotel and tour operator partnership such as Crystalbrook Collections Meet Mindfully and innovative new products from Reef Unlimited featuring a scientific laboratory on the Great Barrie Reef!

Today it’s not just a Welcome to Country. Cairns & Great Barrier Reef wants business event delegates to be inspired and immerse themselves in a place home to two indigenous cultures, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and encourages events to include an indigenous element by partnering with indigenous-owned and operated businesses or those who create employment and education opportunities including Minjil, Mandingalbay, Rainforestation, Mossman Gorge, Janbal Gallery and Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel.

The most eco-certified destination in Australia

Cairns is a ten-minute city. The International airport is a ten-minute drive from the CBD, and business events accommodation and conferencing facilities are within easy walking distance of each other, offering natural social distancing, the health benefit of walking and a reduction in carbon emissions through the reduced need to contract transport. Additionally, the Marina is located in the CBD, and the city offers a vast range of experiences. Restaurants and bars are all an easy hop, skip and jump!

Tropical North Queensland is the most eco-certified destination in Australia, with our region being home to 62 eco-certified companies and 182 experiences on offer! Business events can work collaboratively with our environmental eco-warriors committed to conservation, education, and preserving our unique environment.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is 1 of 10 businesses to hold EarthCheck’s Master Certification, while Port Douglas was the first destination in the world to be awarded ECO Destination Certification. The Coral Nurture Program – a partnership between researchers and five local Great Barrier Reef tour operators has planted over 76,000 corals using the locally designed Coralclip. Additionally, Quicksilver Group have been eco-certified since 1997! Wildlife champions Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures created the North Queensland Wildlife Trust in 2004, while the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre has been rescuing turtles for over 20 years!

Destination carbon offset program

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef makes carbon offsetting easy and Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is proud to launch our destination carbon offset program in conjunction with Reforest – a ground-breaking new platform changing how events interact with the planet while ensuring their tree planting programs are localised to the host destination.

Reforest will calculate your event’s high-level carbon footprint, work out how event organisers can partially or wholly offset their event, and follow up with the story of their locally planted trees.


“In Cairns & Great Barrier Reef, we encourage visitors to leave as custodians of our region and its stories. We support you to leave our destination greater than before your event was held and your delegates to leave greater as people than before they attended your event.”