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's Wharf 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 to host a workshop aimed at promoting tourism development and Indigenous advancement.

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.

Highlights from the Indigenous Tourism Workshop

21 June 2017

The SEQ Indigenous Tourism Initiative launched with a workshop held on Wednesday, 21 June 2017 at the UQ Business School Executive Education Venue in Brisbane. The event proved an overwhelming success, attracting more than 50 participants, including representatives from Traditional Owner groups, tourism operators, government departments and research outlets. Presentations from the workshop can be viewed below.


View the Program     Meet The Speakers


Welcome to Country and Setting the Scene

David Hudson and Kevin Smith (QSNTS)


Introduction to Tourism

Lisa Ruhanen (UQ) and Dr Michelle Whitford (Griffith University)


The Business of Tourism

Lisa Ruhanen (UQ) and Dr Michelle Whitford (Griffith University)


The Mossman Story (Government Collaboration)

Emma Pethybridge (Indigenous Land Corporation) and Rachael Hodges (Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia)



The Dreamworld Corroboree Story (Government and Private Sector Collaboration)

Rory O'Connor (Yugambeh Museum)


The Role of an Association

Robert Taylor (WAITOC)


As part of the Tourism Initiative, QSNTS has worked together with the various members of the Coordinating Committee to compile a variety of resources exploring Indigenous tourism in Australia, including facts and figures about the industry, as well as achievements accomplished and challenges faced at both the domestic and international levels. These resources can be viewed below.


Research Reports

Demand and Supply Issues in Indigenous Tourism: A Gap Analysis

Developed for Indigenous Business Australia and the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (Indigenous Tourism Working Group), this report compiles extensive research into the supply and demand of Indigenous tourism opportunities within Australia, and considers the challenges operators face in bolstering this important industry.

Joint report prepared by:

  • Dr Lisa Ruhanen, University of Queensland
  • Dr Michelle Whitford & Dr Char-lee McLennan, Griffith University

View the Report


News, Media and Marketing

State Budget 2017-18: Budget delivers on Indigenous tourism

The 2017-18 Queensland Budget has recognised the important role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people play in the Queensland tourism industry with commitment to the development of Indigenous arts, tourism experiences and workforce opportunities.

View the Media Release


Tourism Champions: Trade Fact Sheet

The Indigenous Tourism Champions enhance the competitive advantage Indigenous culture offers Australian tourism by building a reputation of reliability and consistent quality in service delivery. This publication features a comprehensive list of Indigenous tourism operators who meet the Indigenous Tourism Champions selection criteria, set by Tourism Australia.

View the Fact Sheet


Facts and Figures

Snapshots 2011: Indigenous Tourism Visitors in Australia

Compiled by Tourism Research Australia on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, this publication features a comprehensive range of facts and figures about Indigenous tourism in Australia in 2011.

View the Publication