There is always a subtle underlying question – can ‘Aboriginal Tourism’ really be authentic if it is being arranged for tourist operations? This is a quation faced by many national tourism development agencies but especially by Australian Aboriginal tourism development and tourism initiatives. However the same applies to indigenous communities in other parts of the world. Aboriginal culture in Australia is one of the longest living cultures on the planet and as with all other cultures, deserves the respect. Some have come to question the value of staged aboriginal experinece shows as providing few real benefits to community members or cultural insights to travelers.
Taking advantage of the opportunity for local communities to engage in tourism may “market” a destination and bring welcome income to a community, but without proper understanding, could also be exploitative. Cultural tourism that engenders respect and offers a wider experience for the traveller offers the chance to deveolop a community and can provide a rare opportunity to share rich cultural heritage with a population eager to pay for the privilege.
The development of community micro business opportunities can become an welcome area of economic growth. The “new tourist” has become more aware of the depth of culture and now demands a strength in cultural authenticity that reflects indigenous past and present and pride in one’s heritage.