Indigenous Tourism Initiative

Queensland is well known for its domestic and international tourism which contributes significantly to the local, regional and State economies (jobs, skills, and business). In parallel, there has been a strong emergence of Traditional Owner (TO) groups in recent decades in terms of Native Title Applications and Determinations. The majority of groups however are yet to fully explore the leveraging of their “Indigenous estate” into economic pathways that marry with and support their cultural and social priorities. Tourism presents a significant opportunity in this context, but also presents numerous challenges. There are many supporting stakeholders in the combined Indigenous and tourism spaces, which through a coordinated approach will help achieve significant and sustainable outcomes for the target beneficiaries, and wider society.

During 2016 QSNTS began working with native title holders to develop strategic plans. A recurring theme in these discussions was the desire to balance the protection of recognised native title whilst pursuing economic development for current and future generations. In that context, Indigenous Tourism was considered as an opportunity that could ‘tick both boxes’ but people also conceded that they had little to no experience in this growing industry.

At about the same time, QSNTS became increasingly familiar with a range of tourism initiatives occurring in South East Queensland, including: the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, the Queen Street redevelopment in the Brisbane CBD and the North Stradbroke Island Economic Transition Strategy. In short, the whole SEQ region is abuzz with tourism opportunities and it is vitally important for Traditional Owners of the region to understand these opportunities and take them up should they wish to. With that objective in mind, QSNTS subsequently formed a coordinating committee (logos below), which includes various organisations with a mandate on tourism development and/or Indigenous advancement.

The committee has developed a three-phase strategy which places Traditional Owner groups of SEQ as the primary stakeholders, beneficiaries and reference point. The phases include:

  1. Information - a Traditional Owner Group Preparatory Workshop to build understanding of the industry and opportunities;
  2. Collaboration - an inaugural South East Queensland Indigenous Tourism Summit to be held on Quandamooka Country, which will bring a range of stakeholders together to collaborate and build a commitment; and
  3. Action – establish an association, led by Traditional Owner representatives which will drive a long term strategy, and tie in many points of collaboration within community, industry and government.

QSNTS gratefully acknowledges and thanks our generous workshop sponsors:

Queensland Tourism Industry Council
Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation
Australian Government: Indigenous Land Corporation
Griffith University

The University of Queensland
Blue Sky Economic Development

Indigenous Business Australia
Queensland Government

For a complete list of our sponsors' organisational profiles, click here.