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Building Indigenous Tourism in Kakadu

18 March 2004

The Australian Government's Director of National Parks, Mr Peter Cochrane, said a four-day pilot program held in Kakadu National Park this week has provided an excellent range of tools and practical advice to traditional owners in the region interested in establishing tourism businesses.

“The workshop, which concludes today, presented an exciting opportunity for local Aboriginal people to look at a range of tourism prospects and issues within Kakadu,” said Mr Cochrane.

“Lack of access to information, training and support services has been a barrier for many Aboriginal people interested in becoming involved in tourism.

“The workshop covered a range of topics, with a particular focus on the practicalities of establishing tourism businesses drawing on proven experience with new, local ideas. Participants also explored the skills required for setting up a business and where to get training and other support.”

The workshop piloted a new program called Stepping Stones for Indigenous Tourism . The program is a partnership between the Director of National Parks, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services and Aboriginal Tourism Australia.

Mr Cochrane said the workshop involved some 20 traditional owners from within the Park along with some neighbouring communities.

“Tourism benefits both the park and its traditional owners – whether through employment, partnership in tourism businesses or the opportunity to share culture with visitors.

“We know there is a lot of demand for cultural tourism products, especially from international tourists who comprise half the visitors to Kakadu.

“There are many examples of successful joint partnerships in Kakadu National Park. Last week a new joint tourism venture was announced for a safari camp in the northern wetlands of Kakadu, involving a traditional owner and AAT Kings/Aussie Adventure Holidays.

“Establishing viable Aboriginal owned and operated businesses and joint ventures is central to the future of tourism in Kakadu,” Mr Cochrane said.

Other tourism partnerships within the Park include Guluyambi Aboriginal Cultural Cruise and Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn in Jabiru and the Gagudju Lodge Cooinda and Yellow Water Cruises.