FNQ First Nations Tourism Action Plan aims to double Indigenous experiences, create jobs: ABC

ABC Far North / By Conor Byrne

Posted Fri 12 May
Original Story here

The Mossman Gorge Centre in Far North Queensland is an Indigenous ecotourism development.(Supplied: Indigenous Land Corporation)

Key points:

  • A Far North Queensland tourism action plan aims to connect visitors with Indigenous attractions
  • It aims to double Indigenous experiences with tourists and increase employment opportunities with hopes it will “reduce the crime rate”
  • Operators hope the plan will increase reconciliation efforts

Young people will be “so busy” that there’ll be no time for crime, according to an Indigenous leader on the launch of a new tourism plan.

The Tropical North Queensland First Nations Tourism Action Plan aims to increase the amount of Indigenous experiences available to visitors.

It sets the premise that all tourism is on country and has a target of doubling Indigenous attractions in the next 10 years.

Cairns tourism operator Dale Mundraby said doubling Indigenous tourism experiences would have a positive social impact.

“[Having] respect for ourselves, country, culture, and the environment will help to reduce the crime rate,” he said.

Portrait of man beside harbour.

Dale Mundraby is excited about the potential benefits of the initiative.

“Our youth will be so busy getting up getting ready for work, and going to bed early that there’s nothing else for them to do.”

Indigenous tours already on offer in the region include art, eco-accommodation, fishing and guided tours.

Yarrabah Mayor Ross Andrews said his community, only 10 kilometres east of Cairns, had plenty to offer.

“I think we underestimate the education and ancient knowledge that our visitors will take away from the experience,” he said.

“We probably have the best art centre in the country, and we would love to promote that a bit more and give it a bit more exposure.”

‘The industry for me’

Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive Mark Olsen said there were 37 Indigenous tours on offer, and a further 100 products were in the pipeline.

Girl wearing violet dress and white paint holding stick in a forest.

Operators are promoting cultural tours in Tropical Far North Queensland.

But he says there is a gap between the tourists who seek Indigenous experiences.

Mr Olsen says 37 per cent of international visitors participate in Indigenous attractions compared to just 3 per cent of domestic tourists.

Headshot of man beside in front of a banyan tree.
Ross Andrews says his shire has work to do to be tourism ready. ABC Far North: Conor Byrne

“The breadth and depth of experiences being offered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this region is almost uncapped,” he said.

“The leadership that’s being shown by communities, by ranger groups, by councils and by the industry is going to create a pathway for employment.

“[It will allow] young people to say: ‘Tourism is the industry for me. It’ll keep me close to home close to country. It’ll help me build culture.’”