Aus state launches scheme to boost Aboriginal tourism

Aus state launches scheme to boost Aboriginal tourism

Perth, May 4 (IANS) The state of Western Australia (WA) on Tuesday launched a scheme to promote Aboriginal cultural tourism.

The 'Tjina: Western Australian Aboriginal Tourism Action Plan', includes a fund valued at A$20 million to support Aboriginal people wanting to work in that sector and to bolster the untapped tourism potential of the scenically spectacular areas of the state such as the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberly region, reports Xinhua news agency.

The plan was developed by Tourism Western Australia and other government agencies with the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC) and the Aboriginal tourism industry.

"There is incredible demand for Aboriginal experiences - the Tjina Plan will make sure people will get to have that experience they are looking for while they are travelling around WA," said the state's Tourism Minister David Templeman in launching the plan.

Research from Tourism WA shows more than 80 per cent of visitors want an Aboriginal experience, however, only about 17 per cent have been able to do so up to now.

WAITOC earlier this year has helped secure a federal government commitment for a A$40 million grant package as part of the Indigenous Tourism Fund.

WAITOC CEO Robert Taylor said the financial support presented a "welcome opportunity at a time of unprecedented uncertainty in the tourism sector".

"Aboriginal tourism opportunities in Western Australia have grown significantly over the past six years and it's critical we find ways to keep them buoyant and expanding throughout the effects of this pandemic period," Taylor said.

About 3 per cent of Australia's population has aboriginal heritage, who have been living on the continent for over 50,000 years.

Australia's aboriginal culture is defined by its connection to family, community and country.

--IANS

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