Recognition of our Respecting Our Culture certified operators
In the lead up to National Sorry Day 26th May and National Reconciliation Week 27th-3rd June, Ecotourism Australia would like to highlight our valued operators who hold Respecting Our Culture certification. Ecotourism Australia and our Respecting Our Culture (ROC) Certified operators recognise the integral relationship between our remarkable Australian landscapes and Indigenous peoples.
Australia’s ancient and diverse landscapes, unique flora and fauna and rich cultural history are primarily what draw visitors to this land. Integral to this country we call home, are Australia’s indigenous peoples, the diverse cultures and spiritual beliefs. Ecotourism Australia has 61 operators holding ROC certification who form mutually beneficial relationships with local communities. These benefits often include employment opportunities for local and indigenous people, the use of local facilities and purchasing provisions and services.
Photo courtesy of Northern Territory Indigenous Tours
“The significance of land to Indigenous people is ultimately bound in the spirituality surrounding the origins of landscapes and the animals, plants and people that inhabit them. An enriched ecotourism experience is one of many benefits to be gained by the ecotourism operator embracing the Indigenous cultural aspects of the local area.” - Rod Hillman, CEO of Ecotourism Australia
Some of these operators go above and beyond to support local people, through active involvement in local community issues, providing benefits such as offering discounts, training and tangible support to organisations that contribute to the welfare of local communities.
“We exist to empower disadvantaged Aboriginal and non-indigenous people – encouraging them to become self-sufficient by providing specialised training programs leading to employment opportunities in the maritime industries.” – Tribal Warrior, ROC and Advanced Ecotourism Certified.
Photo courtesy of Tribal Warrior
Many of our certified operators connect with Indigenous communities to form partnerships and other tourism businesses, which in provides economic and social stability. Mossman Gorge Centre, who have ROC and Ecotourism certification, proudly supports a workforce of 90% Indigenous employees.
Tourists visiting ROC certified operators are fortunate to have the opportunity to learn and experience the real stories behind the connections to country and people of the oldest living culture in the world. Travellers can view Australia’s spectacular landscapes and rock art through the eyes of traditional land owners, listen to dreamtime stories and gain firsthand insight into how life is lived now and in the past from Indigenous perspectives.
“Not only will you get the real story — a story from the heart that might just change the way you see things — you’ll laugh and have fun with your Aboriginal guide. Furthermore, you’ll be providing opportunities for young Aboriginal people to gain employment and skills, raise their self-esteem and become successful members of modern society, contributing knowledge about which they are experts.” – Northern Territory Indigenous Tours, Ecotourism and ROC Certified.
Ecotourism Australia’s ROC certified operators build and develop relationships with relevant traditional owners to ensure the correct protocols are followed and potential impacts on local communities, land and water are communicated. Advanced engagement with relevant traditional owners involves gaining the approval of relevant product components and interpretive materials of areas visited as it is important to accurately portray and respect the boundaries of these areas and in sacred areas.
We pay respect to Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the generations that have passed in the wake of National Sorry Day, which coming up on Friday 26th May 2017. This is a time to recognise and remember their history, celebrate their survival, culture people and communities.
Photo courtesy of Mossman Gorge Centre
Ecotourism Australia proudly supports the extensive efforts and commitment of all of our ROC certified operators, who make it possible for local and Indigenous communities to showcase and respect the traditional heritage of Australia.