Perth, 5th September 2018 – Tourism Council WA’s 2018 Western Australia Tourism Conference commended five tour guides from around the state for Individual Excellence in Aboriginal Tourism – placing emphasis on their outstanding personal and professional commitment to the development of one of Australia’s strongest future growth segments. Ministers, strategists, Councils, Regions, Associations and individual businesses – the experts and professionals at all levels of the tourism industry endorsed Aboriginal tourism as Australia’s unique point of difference in a highly competitive global market.
With research revealing that Western Australia's Aboriginal tourism businesses made a significant contribution to WA's economy adding $43.8 million to the Gross State Product in 2017, WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia commented “There is a strong opportunity to capitalise on the increasing interest in Aboriginal tourism, and the State Government, through Tourism WA and in partnership with WAITOC (Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council) is working on a number of initiatives to help further grow the sector in the State."
‘Partnerships Driving Aboriginal Tourism’ – was the focus of a special panel discussion which highlighted collaboration as a key ingredient to successful business and this was also reflected at the busy WAITOC exhibition stand, where delegates met in pursuit of new alliances for promotion, distribution, cross-selling and where new WAITOC members were recruited from within the tourism industry and beyond.
Ancient rock art, sacred sites, traditional bushfoods, storytelling, festivals and dance - visitor demand to experience one of the world’s longest surviving cultures is clearly on the rise. Showcasing this in an accessible, authentic way requires strong cultural knowledge and skills. The five Aboriginal tour guide stars commended for their commitment to excellence are:
In Margaret River, Josh Whiteland offers visitors a wide range of experiences from Dreamtime stories which dwell in the ancient Ngilgi cave to fishing, foraging and traditional culinary delights yielded by the six seasons in the South-West region. Koomal Dreaming & Cape Cultural Tours
In Perth, Walter McGuire takes visitors along fascinating ancient tracks winding between modern and ancient sites around the city – the journey is laced with songs, stories, Nyoongar language, hunting, gathering and ceremonial artefacts. Go Cultural Tours
The Pilbara is home to the world’s largest open-air art gallery - the Burrup Rock Art comprises an estimated 1 million ancient petroglyphs dating back beyond the ice age. Clinton Walker treats his tour guests to hidden sites and cultural stories that breathe this artwork to life. Ngurrangga Tours.
Brian Lee operates tagalong tours from Kooljaman – exploring the spectacular white beaches and seascapes of the Cape Leveque Peninsula. Tour guests can try their hand at traditional fishing, crabbing and cook up the catch on an open fire. Brian Lee Tagalong Tours.
Celebrating the art of elders, Ted Carlton from Kununurra explained that the paintings on display tell many stories about this special place. “They were some of our strong elders and leaders of Miriwoong country who played a key role. This place is like a school — all the Aboriginal education happens here, and I’m very proud to be part of Waringarri Aboriginal Arts.”
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