February 18, 2021
Authentic indigenous tourism has boomed in recent years, particularly in Queensland where the two rich indigenous cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander come together. Our Spirits of the Red Sands experience grew 15.2% year on year before COVID, and was voted the #1 travel must-do in Queensland! This wider trend is not stopping either, with this year again designated official Year of Indigenous Tourism and chocca with indigenous tourism events.
Because of the impacts of COVID, the Queensland Government extended the Year of Indigenous Tourism from 2020 to 2021. This continued support from the Government for indigenous tourism development and growth is great news for indigenous businesses and partnerships, and for participation of indigenous peoples in tourism. Telling our history, and sharing our knowledge and art is critical to preserve our cultures – and we are seeing all sorts of tourism experiences in Australia now from indigenous food experiences to choreographed dance acts to guided walks through nature.
In addition to this, domestic consumers are loving the storytelling! Last year in October, members of the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) voted Spirits of the Red Sand the top must-do tourism experience in Queensland, beating out long-standing non-indigenous tourism experiences. This indicates a shift among consumers: indigenous tourism is no longer token, and instead is making waves through experiences that tell stories in an authentic way (see our video – using storytelling as the tool to preserve our history, via live theatre and dinner inside the Beenleigh Historical Village where you’re right there beside our ancestors as they experience a clash of cultures, yet you come away with an uplifted feeling).
Later in the year we have NAIDOC week, Australia’s annual celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, this year held from Sunday 4 July to Sunday 11 July.. This year’s theme is “Heal Country”, which calls on all of us to seek greater protections of our lands, waters, sacred sites and cultural heritage.
As part of NAIDOC week, at Spirits of the Red Sand we’re excited to be holding our second annual Wild Foods and Cultural Festival! The premier event last year was such an extravaganza of live entertainment, food stalls, cooking demonstrations and kids’ activities from different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural groups and businesses from the region.
We’re excited about 2021 and seeing indigenous tourism continue to go from strength to strength – all powered by authentic storytelling. Here’s to Queensland’s indigenous tourism journey.