An Australian Indigenous group who won a huge land title claim is partnering with a commercial tourism operator to bring visitors to its region – a remote and seldom visited part of Australia.
Intrepid Travel, a global company known for taking tourists on adventures through Asia, South America and Africa, will begin to take small groups on to Olkola land in Cape York after forming a joint venture with the traditional owners.
In December 2014 the Olkola clan won a 30-year battle to gain use rights over more than 6,300 sq km of former cattle grazing land in far north Queensland.
But when the question of employment and livelihood arose, the clan decided not to mine the land, which is rich in uranium and other minerals.
Instead, the only exploration will be done by foot and four-wheel drive as the Olkola people get ready to welcome the first group of tourists when the dry season starts in June.
Intrepid became involved after the Australian Conservation Foundation got in touch and said the Olkola people were interested in running a tourism business on their land rather than mining it.
“The ACF has been working with Olkola for a few years, helping them with their land title claim,” Intrepid Travel co-founder, Geoff Manchester, said. “We are interested in helping an Aboriginal community get into tourism, so we worked assisting them in creating a sustainable business.”
For Manchester, the project is “ground-breaking”. “We work with them from scratch, including what the product should be that we will be able to sell – so things that exist on their land that travellers will be interested in,” he said.
This is an excerpt from an article first published by The Guardian. Read the full article here.