Indigenous Culture and Tourism - BCI

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Indigenous Culture and Tourism - BCI
Indigenous Culture and
Case Study: Australia
We all want to travel, right?
• When people travel, what are the reasons
they choose a certain destination?
• How could Indigenous
populations be impacted
by tourism?
Aboriginal Communities
• Many Aboriginal communities experience
a variety of social problems caused be a
lack of educational opportunities, low
employment rates, and inadequate health
• Indigenous-based tourism is one way in
which Aboriginal peoples can be
empowered and their communities can
gain economic independence.
• This can be both positive and negative…
Cultural Commodification
• Commodification (or commoditization) is the
transformation of goods and services (or things
that may not normally be regarded as goods or
services) into a commodity.
• When we apply this to a culture, it means that
parts of the culture; artefacts, clothing, dance,
music, folklore, architecture, heritage and
geographic landscapes; are being packaged and
offered for sale.
Loss of Culture
• Many indigenous cultures feel that they
suffer a form of culture loss because they
do not control the commodification of their
culture through tourism.
• Culture can be seen as a form of
intellectual property… meaning that it is
owned by an individual or group, and noone has the right to take or use it without
the permission of the owners.
• This means that tourism that is focussed
around, and profits from, indigenous
cultures without their consent or approval
could be theft (financial and intellectual)
and can also be very offensive.
• Interactions with dominant cultures also
means the spread of dominant values and
beliefs, some of which may contradict the
values of the indigenous group and cause
conflict within the culture.
Reduction of Culture
• They also run the risk of reducing their
culture to a single element – the feasts
and fashion phenomenon.
Loss of Land
• Another concern is when tourist industries
hamper indigenous culture’s ability to carry
on their way of life.
• For example, In 2002, the Botswana Bushmen were
forcibly expelled from the Central Kalahari Game
Reserve (CKGR), part of their traditional ancestral lands
and essential to maintaining a sustainable lifestyle. This
area sees huge revenues from Eco-tourism and safaris.
After going to court, their land was reinstated in 2006.
Despite the court ruling, the government has since
banned them from accessing a borehole, which they rely
on for water.
• With an increase in
tourists, comes an
increase in garbage,
pollution, resource use,
development, etc., all of
which can upset the
balance between humans
and environment and
could potentially affect
indigenous people in a
negative way.
Promotes Sustainability
• It can be a positive, however, if it takes
place on their own terms, serves their
interests and promotes the image they
wish to share about themselves and their
• Many cultures want to share and interact
with other groups, but few want to be just
a sideshow attraction.
• Ideally, ecotourism satisfies several general
criteria, including the conservation of biological
diversity and cultural diversity through
ecosystem protection, promotion of sustainable
use of biodiversity, share of social-economic
benefits with local communities through
informed consent and participation, increase in
environmental and cultural knowledge,
affordability and reduced waste, and
minimization of its own environmental impact.
Sharing Knowledge
• It can also be an important way for
indigenous cultures to share their way of
life and traditional knowledge.
• This could be a way for us to understand
alternative ways of living in the world that
are more environmentally sustainable.
Reconnection Opportunity
• Tourism can be an avenue for nonAboriginal people to experience and come
to understand Aboriginal culture and
• Through tourist ventures, Aboriginal
communities can continue their drive
towards self-determination.
Indigenous Tourism in Australia
• 80% of international tourists to Australia
indicate that they are interested in
experiencing Aboriginal-based attractions
and learning about art, religion and
• However, only 37% of tourists leave
Australia without having experienced
Aboriginal culture.
Aboriginal Tourism
• The Aboriginal tourism industry generates
about $5million/year.
• Aboriginal arts and crafts account for
another $200million/year.
Current Tourist Sites
Uluru and Kata Tjuta
• Originally known as Ayers Rock and The
• National Park was established in 1950 and
in 1985 it was returned to its traditional
owners, the Anangu.
• The Anangu now lease the park back to
the National Park Service.
• Jointly managed by federal government
and Anangu people.
Climbing Uluru
• Climbing Uluru is an established tourist
• Over 350,000 people visit the park each
year and 20% of them climb the rock.
• The route to the top of this 345metre
monolith is 1.5 km long.
• It is a dangerous climb with an average of
10 deaths/year.
Sacred Site
• Uluru is a sacred site of the Anangu
• The site contains tracks of the journeys of
the ancestors.
• Some of the ancestors remain a part of
these tracks.
• The Anangu people ask tourists not to
climb the rock and affect the sacredness
of the site.
To climb or not to climb?
• Would you climb Uluru if you visited the
park? Why or why not?
• Brainstorm ways that people could make
tourism more culturally sensitive and
improve the sustainability for indigenous
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