THE Australian travel and tourism industry has taken a big leap forward in support of reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strat Islander communities, through the launch of a Tourism Reconciliation Industry Networking Group (RING).
Kickstarted by Tourism Australia and Intrepid Travel, the new group is endorsed by Reconciliation Australia and consists of 16 travel brands, including Qantas, Flight Centre Travel Group, Expedia Group, Virgin Australia, Airbnb, Experience Co, Tourism Western Australia, VisitCanberra, South Australian Tourism Commission, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, and Merlin Entertainments.
The RING gives tourism businesses with a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) the opportunity to “share challenges and opportunities, identify best practice in reconciliation and listen to the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities on topics relevant to reconciliation, culture and tourism”.
Tourism Australia’s Head of Indigenous Affairs, Phil Lockyer, emphasised the industry’s crucial role in the reconciliation movement.
“As RAPs grow across the industry, being able to come together and to support and learn from each other and listen to diverse Indigenous voices will help us to build on our RAPs and challenges or ambitions.”
Intrepid Travel ANZ Managing Director Brett Mitchell made a similar statement:
“Australia is home to the oldest continuing culture in the world and tourism is uniquely placed to celebrate, share and learn from First Nations peoples. Building strong and positive relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is an important part of our mission to create positive change through the joy of travel.”
The Tourism RING will meet quarterly, with the inaugural meeting having taken place on 30 November 2022.