Yolngu people have master plan for tourism
For thousands of years, the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land have been rightly proud of their beautiful country and strong culture and are now launching a bold plan to increase tourism to their lands. The Yolngu Cultural Tourism Masterplan is the first of its kind in Australia and aims to develop sustainable employment and lasting economic benefits for Yolngu people throughout Arnhem Land.
Chairman of the Lirrwi Yolngu Tourism Aboriginal Corporation, Djawa Murrmurrnga (Timmy) Burarrwanga, a Gumatj man from Yirrkala in North East Arnhem Land, initially developed the plan and sees tourism as a great opportunity to create jobs and business opportunities for Yolngu while giving tourists the opportunity to experience his people’s vibrant culture.
“We have been sharing our culture with visitors for many years, but we now want to move to the next stage and create a new economy based on cultural tourism in Arnhem Land,” Burarrwanga said. “We want to introduce people from all over the world to our country, our dance, our music, our ceremonies, our art and our unique way of life.”
Partly inspired by successful African safari camps managed by Botswanan communities, the Masterplan is seen as a new model for Indigenous economic development, based on the principles of Aboriginal leadership, empowerment, continuity, respect for culture and responsibility. An Expert Panel led by Yolngu Elder, Rev. Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM, and including experienced tourism industry figures, will provide advice on the development of the Masterplan.
Burarrwanga is confident of the long term success of the Masterplan.
“During the next 20 years we will see the creation of many new small businesses which our children will inherit. This will help us stay connected to our homelands and our culture, creating employment for hundreds of Yolngu people while providing life-changing experiences for our visitors,” he said.