Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

Call for more Indigenous tourism

Noosa will host the annual Global Eco Asia Pacific conference later this month, with tourism experts set to discuss the need for more Indigenous tourism in Australia.

Tourism and Indigenous experts believe Australia needs a better Aboriginal or Indigenous theme to the tourist industry.  

This Indigenous memorial in Cairns is popular with tourists. Source: Jennie Adams

This Indigenous memorial in Cairns is popular with tourists. Source: Jennie Adams

 At the conference later this month, the key topic will be how to provide travellers with an authentic Aboriginal experience. 

 Kym Cheatham, CEO of Ecotourism Australia said the conference will be important to people who want to learn more about Indigenous culture. 

“The conference is to give operators and people involved in Indigenous tourism an opportunity to extend their knowledge,” she said.

“At the same time they can gain experience by talking to others who have experiences in Indigenous tourism.”

Ms Cheatham said more and more there’s a higher demand from international travellers for an authentic Aboriginal culture.

“From an international point of view, Indigenous cultural experiences are incredibly important,” she said.

“It’s important that the experiences are ethical and culturally appropriate.”

Natalie Stoeckl, an associate professor in economics at James Cook University has done surveys on how important Indigenous culture is to travellers.

A randomly chosen group of travellers in Alice Springs was surveyed, with the research showing Indigenous culture is a big factor.

“The visitors might not have come to Uluru, or may have spent less time there, if they didn’t think they were going to experience some Aboriginal culture and heritage,” she said.

Aborginial rock paintings are very popular among tourists. Source: Jennie Adams

Aborginial rock paintings are very popular among tourists. Source: Jennie Adams

Dr Freya Higgins-Desbiolles, a lecturer in tourism at the University of South Australia, agreed Indigenous orientated tourism attracts a lot of international travellers.

“The international community, particularly Europeans, have a very keen interest because Indigenous cultures are quite fascinating for international visitors,” she said.

The domestic market has been the hardest to tap in Australia but Dr Higgins-Desbiolles believes it can be fixed through more Aboriginal orientated holidays.

“One example is Desert Tracks, which takes people out in Central Australia, for a very intensive engagement with the Anangu community,” she said.

“It teaches non-Indigenous people to value and respect Indigenous cultures.”

“I call it reconciliation through tourism.”

The Global Eco Asia Pacific Conference will run from 25-28 of October.