LAUNCHING: ‘RESPECTING OUR CULTURE | CELEBRATING DIVERSITY THROUGH ECOTOURISM‘
It’s National Reconciliation Week this week (27 May – 3 June) and here at Ecotourism Australia, we’re using this important time to launch our brand new Indigenous marketing campaign.
For the months of June and July, you’re going to be seeing a lot more from us about Indigenous tourism in Australia; particularly the incredible experiences offered by our Respecting our Culture (ROC) Certified operators.
What’s ROC Certification?
Ecotourism Australia’s Respecting Our Culture (ROC) program encourages the tourism industry to operate in ways that respect and reinforce Indigenous cultural heritage and the living cultures of Indigenous communities.
Designed by Aboriginal Tourism Australia (ATA) and administered by Ecotourism Australia since October 2002, ROC is a tourism industry development tool which embraces national accreditation standards, making sure tourism experiences meet customer expectations in a professional and sustainable way, while encouraging the industry to operate with respect for Indigenous cultural heritage.
ROC certified tourism operators are committed to protecting cultural authenticity and integrity, developing sound business practices, environmental protection and acknowledging Indigenous peoples’ spiritual connection to the land and water.
The guiding principles of the ROC program include:
- Acknowledgement of Indigenous peoples’ ownership of their cultural heritage
- The need for a new partnership which recognised the Indigenous contribution to Australia’s identity
- The need for greater opportunity for employment and training at the local community level
- Recognition of the importance of enterprise development fitting with Indigenous social, family, community systems and values
- The capacity of cultural education to contribute to the reconciliation process
Why are we focusing on Indigenous tourism and ROC operators?
Australia is home to the oldest living culture on the planet. Indigenous operators and those certified through our ROC program provide opportunities for visitors to experience genuine connections to the places they visit and new ways of seeing and experiencing these. As Tourism Australia says: Every part of Australia is Aboriginal country and every part of that country has a series of stories and experiences that are unique to it.
Indigenous tourism is also a way for non-Indigenous Australians to hear about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences and learn from their cultures. With Indigenous Australians making up 2.8% of Australia’s total population, it is possible for non-Indigenous Australians to live their lives with little cultural interaction and thus a limited understanding of the diversity and richness of culture that exists in their own backyard.
What can you expect to see from us during this campaign?
Here at Ecotourism Australia, we see the ROC program, and its encouragement to the tourism industry to operate in ways that respect and reinforce Indigenous cultural heritage and the living cultures of Indigenous communities, as vital components of our mission to make Australia the world's best ecotourism destination.
That’s why we’ll be showcasing our ROC certified operators during the months of June and July and giving you an insight into how they use this program to support the reconciliation process and promote greater understanding between cultures.
We’ve also got a few surprises (including a very special interview) in store, so stay tuned!
[Photos: Tourism Australia]