A very Murri Christmas ·

A very Murri Christmas

It’s that time of the year again! As we run full steam ahead into the holiday period, we get a rare moment to look back on a tough year and look forward to 2020 The Year of Indigenous Tourism in Queensland.

It would be slack of me to start my reflection without thanking our incredible Champions Network and The Star Entertainment group for their continued support of this initiative. The Champions continue to drive the growth of employment of First Nations Peoples across the industry, push the boundaries of what is possible and strengthen a sector that is led with passion and determination. More importantly, they continue to inspire me and remind me of the value of what we are doing! This group has been instrumental this year in the consultations for the First Nations Tourism Potentials Plan. The first plan of its kind in Australia to guide and direct the growth of the First Nations Tourism Sector. I was also lucky enough this year to be supported by the SAGs – not the most flattering of names I realise, but the most wonderful of people. This Special Advisory Group assisted in ensuring that the First Nations Potentials Plan consulted with the right people in the right places, leading to a plan led by First Nations People for First Nations People. With a soft launch at the DestinationIQ forum we look forward to launching the first action plan associated with the Potentials Plan in early 2020.

Another big win for us this year came from the persistent advocacy from the big boss and the deputy Chair of our Board for the Year of Indigenous Tourism in 2020. How excited we were when that was announced at the Queensland Tourism Awards, surrounded by artwork commissioned for the Champions Network by the incredible David Hudson. A spectacular sight to be seen, an incredible announcement and even more excitingly, a groundswell of support from industry.

We have had a number of inspirational and empowering moments through 2019. The key note address at our NAIDOC Breakfast from Tony McAvoy, SC blew us away. Tony spoke to this years’ theme of Voice. Treaty. Truth – or in his case Truth, Treaty, Voice. A man of his standing has a lot to say and he truly captivated the room – there was no checking emails and even the delicious breakfast sat untouched as he spoke. His unemotional approach to his speech explored questions and the potential answers. So many times we are presented with challenges and troubles but no way of addressing them. Not him. The need for a truth commission and truth telling, the exploration of opportunity for museums on Country, discussion around the statement of the heart, all had the audience contemplating how in their corporate, and personal life, they can move this agenda forward. That was our aim.

With a lasting impression from Tony at the NAIDOC breakfast, we knew that our end of year forum had to reach new heights.  The Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development supported us in bringing over Keith Henry the CEO for Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to Queensland. Keith joined us to share his learnings around the sustainable growth of Indigenous tourism in Canada. We often look to our overseas counterparts for guidance in areas of importance. What a fantastic insight Keith was able to give us. It was clear that there are similarities between where we are now and where Canada was when ITAC commenced. Since that time they have worked tirelessly to strengthen Indigenous tourism through collaboration, partnerships and strategic positioning. This is where we are now. Starting on the journey to those things.

So what’s next and how can you be involved in the Year of Indigenous Tourism? Hire some staff, commission an artist, partner with a business, find out more about First Nations people from your region, their story and how your business can share their story.

If all else fails and you’re in need of some Christmas gifting ideas….why not add an Indigenous Experience to the list…..here’s a few ideas to help you get started:

Tropical North Queensland

Gab Titui Cultural Centre
Tjapukai Cultural Park
Walkabout Cultural Adventures Daintree
Digerlia, Cairns
UMI arts
Jarramali Rock Art Tours, Laura

Canarvo Gorge National Park
Dreamtime Cultural Centre, Rockhampton
Goolimil Walkabout Tour, 117-

Thutirla Pula, Two Boys Dreaming, Birdsville
Desert Dreaming Centre, Barcaldine
Diamantina National Park, Bedourie
South East Qld

Jellurgal Cultural Centre, Burleigh Heads
Spirits of the Red Sand, Beenleigh
Minjerribah Camping, Mingerribah
Blackcard Cultural Tours, Brisbane
Dreamworld Corroboree, Gold Coast

To steal a quote from David Hudson, “cultural tourism is about looking back at the incredible history of our country, whilst seeing the influence it has over our present and future”. We have a lot to look forward to in 2020 and I can’t wait to share it with you all!!

On that note, I’ll shut up! I wish you all a Murri Christmas and a great start to 2020 the Year of Indigenous Tourism.

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