Perspective – August 2013

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Ian McMahon

Recognising indigenous tourism

ONE of the most rewarding articles I have written during my time at travelBulletin was a report headed Building a new future for indigenous tourism.

Published just over a year ago it detailed some of the initiatives under way in this country to enhance Australia’s indigenous tourism offerings and, in particular, to secure indigenous control of tourism businesses and to ensure the jobs they generate go primarily to Aboriginal people.

I was reminded of this when an announcement from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) arrived in my email inbox. It said that New Zealand Maori Tourism will host the second Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference (PAITC) April 4-9, 2014.

When you get down to it, the Aboriginal culture of Australia and the Maori culture of New Zealand, are unique tourism assets for the two countries. They deliver a key point of difference to our tourism offering and our efforts to attract visitors Down Under.

The objective of PAITC is to promote awareness, enhance and protect the tourism role of Asia Pacific’s indigenous peoples such as hill tribes, forest dwellers, sea faring groups and Aboriginal people.

The conference agenda will be based on the principles adopted in the Larrakia Declaration on the Development of Indigenous Tourism, which was established during the first PAITC, held in Darwin in March last year.

The declaration aims to uphold and respect traditional laws, knowledge, land, and heritage in all tourism decisions, while ensuring that indigenous peoples play a significant role in the decision-making of public policy and programs in the development of indigenous tourism.

“We expect to draw participation from indigenous leaders, government agencies, associations, operators, NGOs, universities, research bodies and media from around the globe, to discuss and share issues, challenges and solutions on how to best preserve Indigenous heritage and culture as part of the complete visitor economy,” said PATA chief executive Martin Craigs.

New Zealand Maori Tourism sees next year’s conference as an opportunity to showcase the success of Māori tourism, while holding a dialogue and sharing best practices from indigenous groups around the world.

According to the PATA announcement: “The conference program will incorporate activities that ensure the critical role of Indigenous tourism.”

Let us wish them well.

NTIA success

Congratulations to Jayson Westbury and his team at AFTA who this year took the AFTA National Travel Industry Awards (NTIA) to new heights.

A new venue that accommodated hundreds more guests, an after party that did not have to restrict attendees and several new award categories all contributed to a stunning success. One of the great attributes of the NTIA gala dinner is that it brings industry members together from all over the country, providing a networking replacement for the fondly remembered AFTA conventions of years gone by.

We are the proud print media sponsor of the awards. View pics on the gallery page or download our eight page wrap up.