In­dige­nous tourism booms in NSW

Australian Geographic Outdoor - - News -

In­dige­nous op­er­a­tors can mix in both the awe­some cul­ture and his­tory of the re­gion as well as the ad­ven­tures.

THE IN­DIGE­NOUS tourism in­dus­try in NSW is grow­ing at an in­cred­i­bly fast rate, with record num­bers of toursts un­der­tak­ing an Aboriginal tourism ex­pe­ri­ence in the state, and now news that six more In­dige­nous tourism op­er­a­tions have started up.

In the year end­ing September 2016, more than 394,000 in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic vis­i­tors par­tic­i­pated in an Aboriginal tourism ex­pe­ri­ence in NSW – an in­cred­i­ble re­sult and up 50 per­cent on the pre­vi­ous year. It is es­ti­mated that this in­jects $1.14 bil­lion into the NSW econ­omy. Be­sides this eco­nomic growth, the en­cour­ag­ing news is that the state’s rich in­dige­nous his­tory and cul­ture is now be­ing more recog­nised by both vis­i­tors and state gov­ern­ment bod­ies.

Ac­cord­ing to Des­ti­na­tion NSW CEO San­dra Chipchase, “The growth in trav­ellers yearn­ing to learn more about NSW’s di­verse Aboriginal na­tions and their tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary cultural ex­pe­ri­ences is fan­tas­tic news for the In­dige­nous tourism sec­tor.”

“NSW is a des­ti­na­tion where Aboriginal cul­ture is strong, vi­brant and di­verse. Across Syd­ney and Re­gional NSW, new tourism op­er­a­tors are tak­ing tours to new lo­ca­tions and shar­ing the story of their peo­ple, lan­guage and cultural tra­di­tions as a way to ed­u­cate vis­i­tors and lo­cals. These tours pro­vide a chance for mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and en­sure that lo­cal lan­guage, cultural sites, cer­e­monies and sto­ries are passed on.”

One of the big ad­van­tages in­dige­nous op­er­a­tors have is that they can mix in both the awe­some cul­ture and his­tory of ther re­gion as well as the ac­tual out­door/ad­ven­ture ex­pe­ri­ences on of­fer. Clark Webb, who has re­cently started Wa­jaana Yaam Gum­bayn­g­girr Ad­ven­ture Tours, a so­cial en­ter­prise on the Coffs Coast, be­lieves his tours share the sto­ries and lan­guage of the Gum­bayn­g­girr peo­ple, while also hav­ing fun stand-up pad­dling board­ing and kayak­ing.

“Gum­bayn­g­girr are salt­wa­ter peo­ple, so it makes sense to get peo­ple out on the wa­ter. On our tours peo­ple get the chance to pad­dle with the di­rect de­scen­dants of the world’s first pad­dlers, feel a sense of ad­ven­ture in un­spoilt ma­rine park wa­ter­ways, and con­nect, feel and taste the soul of our coun­try,” Mr Webb said.

The suc­cess of Clark’s tours has also had a pos­i­tive ef­fect on the lo­cal Aboriginal com­mu­nity. “Wa­jaana Yaam Gum­bayn­g­girr Ad­ven­ture Tours is a so­cial en­ter­prise, where we ed­u­cate vis­i­tors about the Gum­bayn­g­girr cul­ture and ed­u­cate the lo­cal Aboriginal com­mu­nity so they know the sto­ries and lan­guage of their an­ces­tors. In this way we en­cour­age our com­mu­nity to be strong in both cul­ture and ed­u­ca­tion and cre­ate em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties as tour guides.”

Wa­jaana Yaam Gum­bayn­g­girr Ad­ven­ture Tours is one of six new NSW Aboriginal tourism op­er­a­tions.

Bundyi Cultural Tours, in Wagga Wagga, is run by Wi­rad­juri man Mark Sad­dler. Mark shares as­pects of this cul­ture, in­clud­ing the lan­guage, sig­nif­i­cant places and sto­ries. There are op­tions of a half- or full-day ex­pe­ri­ence with Mark, where vis­i­tors learn about bush­tucker, the mak­ing of cultural tours. For an even richer ex­pe­ri­ence, Mark also of­fers overnight tours, where at­ten­dees will learn more about the Wi­rad­juri cul­ture and its peo­ple through Dream­ing sto­ries, vis­it­ing cultural sites and learn­ing about the Wi­rad­juri lan­guage and cul­ture

For­mer Wal­laby Tim Ella, of the Dharawal-Yuin peo­ple, and Grant Hyde have re­cently started Kadoo Tours at Wat­sons Bay and La Per­ouse, in Syd­ney. These two-hour tours be­gin with a tra­di­tional ochre cer­e­mony and Wel­come to Coun­try, be­fore show­cas­ing bush tucker and also re­veal­ing Tim’s close per­sonal ties to the area.

Visit Syd­ney’s Ku-Ring-Gai NP and sam­ple bar­be­cued kan­ga­roo and emu as part of the fourhour Guringai Aboriginal Tours ex­pe­ri­ence, led by Guringai de­scen­dant Lau­rie Bim­son and Yuin de­scen­dant Les Mcleod.You also get the chance to check out sa­cred sites, rock carv­ings and hear the pair re­count an­cient sto­ries.

Unkya Cultural Eco Tours of­fers au­then­tic tours at Scotts Head and Gaa­gal Wang­gan Na­tional Park on the Mid North Coast. Hear the cre­ation story of the ocean and how the first wave was made, and learn about tra­di­tional fish traps and hunt­ing on the Gur­ru­uja Juun (Whale Tail) Tour which vis­its Lit­tle Beach and Scotts Head head­land.

Ex­pe­ri­ence the Wi­rad­juri and Kami­laroi/ Gami­la­raay coun­try near Dubbo with tra­di­tional land owner Peter Peck­ham from First Les­son Cultural Tours. Hear the sto­ries of this land and its peo­ple from a real bush­man as you visit a scarred ca­noe tree, an axe-grind­ing site, and dis­cover bush tucker and medicine plants. Peter also of­fers overnight camp­ing tours, for a real taste of Out­back NSW.

For info on in­dige­nous tourism ex­pe­ri­ences in NSW, check out www.des­ti­na­tionnsw.gov.au

This pic Clark Webb takes tourists on a SUP ad­ven­ture while shar­ing the sto­ries of his peo­ple. Be­low Wi­rad­juri man, Mark Sad­dler, runs Bundyi Cultural Tours out of Wagga Wagga.

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