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New tourist map the right direction for Indigenous tour operators

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Aboriginal boy in body and face paint standing in front of Aboriginal artwork
The Mowanjum Festival, in northern Western Australia, is featured in the WAITOC map
4 Aug 2017

A new free tourist map of Western Australia featuring Aboriginal owned and run tourist ventures is proving a hit with local and international travellers alike.

The Touring Map of Western Australia highlights sixty Aboriginal tourist ventures ranging from accommodation, art, traditional dance and dreamtime stories to contemporary history, safari and bush tours. The map provides a how to for those seeking to experience authentic Aboriginal culture along with the latest information on roads and conditions.

Produced by the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC), this peak not for profit organisation represents Indigenous tourism in WA.

WAITOC Marketing Manager Di Below, believes that tourism and the map are great opportunities for Aboriginal people.

“Indigenous people and communities see tourism as a great way of creating income and jobs on country while conserving their cultural heritage.”

At the same time, visitors can experience the world’s oldest living culture in an authentic way and gather first hand insights from local custodians whose knowledge has been passed down from their ancestors for thousands of years. Di said.

“Research has revealed that 60% of visitors to Western Australia would like to experience the Aboriginal culture during their visit but only 20% actually do so.

“So this map serves as a very useful trip planning tool which makes it easy for visitors to locate and experience authentic Indigenous culture. There is so much out there, and a guided tour with a local custodian is a really unique and fascinating experience.”

Many of the Aboriginal tourist ventures listed on the map are at remote locations, especially in the north, so travellers taking self-drive tours are an ideal audience, and as a result WAITOC has partnered with the Caravan Industry Association Western Australia to include information on camping spots around the state.

“We organised a 100,000 copy print run of the map, up from 50,000 in the past, but demand has increased so much that we will need to double the print run again,” Di said.

Find out more

Indigenous tourism businesses help increase employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, which is a critical component of Closing the Gap.

The Australian Government’s Tailored Assistance Employment Grants programme provides support to connect working age Indigenous Australians with sustainable jobs, including in in the tourism and hospitality industries. For example, the Government has recently announced $6.7 million for 420 employment places and 270 traineeships at iconic Indigenous tourism locations, including Home Valley Station in northern Western Australia.