Impact of Indigenous (Aborigine) Tourism toward The Indigenous People

The Influence of Indigenous (Aborigine) Tourism toward the Indigenous People

Ayu Fitriyani , English Literature. 221141004



In modern era, this world is full of sophisticated technology to support human life. The transformation starts to spread out to traditional life and transform to modern life. It is developing each time. Over time the tradition is left behind. The impact is that, recently, the way of life by dressing traditional cloth, doing traditional customs and belief now becomes rare and precious thing. People miss the tradition and classical life. One of example of traditional is the existence of indigenous people in the world.

Indigenous people are an ethnic minorities who have been marginalized as their historical territories, and define as having a set of specific rights based on their historical ties to particular territory.  Aborigine is indigenous people in Australia that still exists until now. They stay with their traditional custom and culture. Aboriginal is indigenous Australia, it is the original inhabitants of the Australians migrated from Africa to Asia around 70.000 years ago and arrive in Australia around 50.000 years ago. ( Another sources says that Aborigines inhabited Australia for at least 25.000 years.

According to Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Social Policy and Development (New York, 2004) said that Indigenous communities, people and nations are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing on those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as people, by their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system. While the Commonwealth Department of Aboriginal Affairs proposed a new three-part definition an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, an Aboriginal of Torres Strait Islander as a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted such by the community in which he (or she) lives.

After English colonizer, Aborigines seems invisible, and the discrimination happens toward Aborigines people, though the discrimination has decreased. Beyond of discrimination issues, Aborigines people and its culture is identic with Australia heritage, and they are traditional and classical. They still stay with traditional life in this modern era. They are precious and attracting. Nowadays, aboriginal becomes one of tourism spot in Australia.

In this paper tries to explain the impact of Aboriginal tourism. There are still many debating in deal with this issue, whether the policy to make this indigenous people to be tourism object. Intention of tourist to visit Indigenous tourism for seeing the original of the indigenous. But, when the indigenous people has been touched, so it will not be original anymore. It has been contaminated by modern thing. So, I figure that it is needed to know what the impact of this activity is.

Aboriginal Tourism

Indigenous tourism is a phenomenon specific to the post-colonial world: tourists from former world empires travel to their ex-colonies attracted by the vision of exotic and unknown cultures (Craik, “Peripheral Pleasures”). Indigenous tourism are included location-specific and history. Hollingshead says that tourism serves as a tool for international understanding and re-imagination of the state history. In Australia, the existence of Aboriginal is symbol Australian traditional life and as symbol of original Australian. It is interesting for people in the world. The way of life, culture, art, custom, tradition and ritual that seems strange in this period looks unique and interesting in this modern era. In addition, People like to visit such as traditional places and involve in traditional circumstances to learn history. Hence, it is not surprising, Australian government put in Aboriginal as one of their tourism destination.

Aboriginal tourism goes beyond the lifestyle and traditions of indigenous people who live on homelands, out stations and remote communities to include the urban experience of Australia’s indigenous person. ( ), such as rock art tours, art exhibitions, live theatre and stories. This tourism is interesting tourism where indigenous culture, economy ecology, medicine or sacred system are the main elements.  According to Healy, Indigenous projects is vary in form, embracing cultural institutions, performances display, exhibition and service provision; they vary in scale, ranging from an Aboriginal Park Ranger that  organizing tiny tours of Uluru-Kata Tjuta; they are different in terms of real Aboriginal involvement, ownership and control. In short, Indigenous tourism is any tourist activity where the experience of Aboriginal culture is central.

Indigenous tourism is recognized by the Australian Government as important to Australian tourism industry’s competitiveness and for economic development for indigenous Australians. Consequently, as part of the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy, an Indigenous Tourism Working Group was set up to discuss issues with the sector and to improve opportunities for Indigenous people to have greater involvement in the Australian tourism industry (Department of Resources, Energy & Tourism, 2009).

The concept of Aboriginal Tourism

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism Industry Strategy defines Indigenous tourism Industry as including all forms of participation by Indigenous persons in tourism, as employers, as employees, as investors, as joint venture partners, providing indigenous cultural tourism products, and providing mainstream tourism products. Then the Australian Tourist Commission states that Aboriginal tourism for marketing purpose as a tourism experience or service, which is most owned or operated by Aboriginal people and/ or owned in partnership with non-Aboriginal people.

Australian Government Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, Division Tourism Research Australia on their report entitled “Indigenous Tourism in Australia: Profiling the Domestic Market, Domestic Indigenous tourism are defined as overnight who participated in at least one of the activities while traveling in Australia in 2009; the ten activities are, 1) Go on a tour with an Indigenous guide, 2) Stay in Indigenous accommodation, 3) Visit an Indigenous Cultural Centre, 4) Visit an Indigenous gallery , 5) Attend an Indigenous festival, 6) See Indigenous dance or a theatre performance, 7) See Indigenous art, craft, or cultural display, 8) See an Indigenous site of Indigenous community, 9) Purchase Indigenous art, craft or souvenirs, 10) Some other interaction with Indigenous people.

People Motivation to Visit Aboriginal Tourism

The Aboriginal tourism is such a brilliant idea this days. Among people who live globalization era, people are tired seeing modern with advanced technology and machines, they are exhausted to see something new and unique, like nature and something traditional. Aboriginal tourism is big opportunity. Due to some motivation that support behind people to visit Aboriginal Tourism. First, as I said before people need something new and fresh. In the past, there were pilgrims and participants of the Great Tours. They traveled to get religious and educative experience. Even the pilgrim still exist today, but today’s travelers do not search education and spirituality primarily; they want to escape from their busy day and everyday routine, then struggle to get away from that for a while; such the effect of globalization and materialism on people’s behavior. That such kind of people or tourist seek for unique experiences which would be different from what they usually meet in their lives. Tourism has become an “escape” activity.

Second, their motivation is their love towards traditional and classical thing. Many are also fascinated by the cultural memory of a landscape reflects the history of the existence of Aboriginal people. Some people believe that now, they have the last chance to meet unspoiled original cultures of Aboriginal people. Logically, this presumption is false; however, tourists often perceive Aboriginal communities as living in primeval world. These misconceptions make some tourists behave as if they were the protectors or saviors of Indigenous people and so they take part in Indigenous tourism with the aim to support poor communities. Healy observes that in such cases, a tourist feels “intellectual responsibility and authority, which often takes the form of patrician preservation; a sense that those who are toured needed to be saved from themselves, or saved from a rapacious industry.

The third motivation is their curiosity and interested in local culture make them want to have that such kind of travel. The life of aboriginal is remote, so it must be unique. Aboriginal people who live in outback area is interesting to be learnt how they live with that such climate and very dry area.

On average in 2009 a data shows what the Indigenous tourism most do in Aboriginal tourism. Indigenous tourism visitors participated in two indigenous activities during their trip. The most popular activities were, seeing any indigenous art, craft, or cultural display, the percentage is 54 percent people do that; 27 percent people visit an Indigenous site or community; 24 percent visit an Indigenous gallery; 22 percent people visit an Indigenous cultural center, and 20 percent people want to have some other experiences or interaction with indigenous people.  Those data shows some reasons and what people mostly like to see in Aboriginal tourism with any kind of motivation to visit it.

However those motivations become one of reason of Aboriginal Tourism. Beside the motivation of people who can support the existence of Aboriginal tourism, there are others purpose from the government or executor of Aboriginal Tourism. The Aboriginal Tourism Australia (ATA), a non-profit company established in 1995, following a recommendation of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism Industry Strategy and national meetings of Indigenous operators; it provides leadership and a focus for the development of Aboriginal tourism, consistent with Aboriginal economic, cultural and environment values. Moreover, another key element of Aboriginal tourism is cultural control, considered crucial to maintaining authenticity crucial and preventing cultural exploitation.

Impact of Aboriginal Tourism Activities

Every activities will give impact, good impact and bad impact. Indigenous tourism also will bring bad impact and bad impact. In this essay has been little mentioned about the advantages of Indigenous tourism, on cultural conservation. However, government creates this kind of tourism for the good of the country. In this paper, I will explain briefly the advantages of Indigenous tourism in general according to my point of view. Logically, Indigenous tourism will give positive impact to all aspects. This is my analysis of Aboriginal Tourism advantages as follows:

  1. Cultural Point of View : Aboriginal Tourism will keep the traditional cultural and history

Indigenous thing is same with something traditional which become interesting nowadays. Tourism is one of way to conserve the traditional culture among this globalization era. Each time, the world is changing and developing. People mind is changing to make better life in the future. The old fashioned will be changed to be more modern. So, the indigenous thing will automatically save the culture, and its traditional properties such art, dance, traditional music and clothe will be save from modernization because those all become the object of the tourism. Government will struggle to rescue and nurture that, then the culture will not be vanished.

  1. Economy Point of View: The Aboriginal tourism will increase economy income.

There are some reasons and motivations that I have mentioned above why people visit Indigenous tourism. One of them is, they want to see special and different thing from their daily activities. Indigenous Tourism can take this chance and fulfill the demand of the society. Automatically, the tourism activity will absorb much income and investments to the country. In addition, the tourism activities will decrease unemployment of Indigenous people.

  1. Social Point of View : There will be reconciliation between non-indigenous and indigenous people

The discrimination issue in Australian people toward indigenous people (Aboriginal) has been happening since British colonization. After Australia gained independence from England, something lost happened to the Aborigines. There is term called “The Lost Generation”; where Aboriginal children were kidnaped never to seen again by their families. The government target was to physiologically break any interference from Aboriginal people on the “white” politics. Many things have changed and the discrimination decreased and there is better life for Aborigines today. Aborigines has been suffered for a long time, through tourism the Aborigine have a chance to re-tell all story, because actually they want to speak up to show their existence. The existence of Aborigine tourism will create harmony relation between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people. The relation is mutualism symbiosis and give advantage toward each other’s.

  1. Education Point of View: The Aboriginal Tourism will educate Indigenous People and acknowledge the visitors.

Indigenous Tourism will create many educated Aborigine people. As we know that Indigenous people identical with uneducated people. We need many educated Aborigine people in Aborigine tourism, because they are the main artist, especially in guiding the visitors. Hence, the government need to teach the aborigines how to speak well, how to write, and many things as the consequent of the tourism activities. Hence, the tourism activities will educate the Aborigine. In addition, the Aborigine tourism will make the visitors know more their culture and history deeply, because the information comes directly from the source.

Beside the positive impact and its advantages, this activities also create bad impact and disadvantages, first, the Indigenous people are used to living with their own traditional life, with their custom, and their belief where they are disturbed by the presence of strange people. More or Less tourism activity will change their life. Second, the tourism activity will destroy the original environment, even the aim of this indigenous tourism is to show as original as the environment, because in such area will be built such kind of places and build something in the area. For instance, around the canyon rim the tourism industry (hotels and park facilities) continues to grow. Jeep tours, horseback riding, air tours, and helicopter tours are all available to tourist. In the bottom of the Canyon are growing numbers of white wafer rafters, mountain bikers, and hikers. Third, there is bias ambivalence of Indigenous place. Their culture will mixture with the interference from strange people. Aborigine people will be close to blend culture between traditional and modern. They are part of the Indigenous or Aborigine, but their culture more or less has been changed to modern, but they have not been included to be modern people.

Based on both positive and negative impact, it is still debated whether policy to create indigenous policy is right or not. That must be minded that the ICOMOS (International Cultural Tourism Charter, 1999) in Adam Troy and Robyn’s essays entitle Tourism and Indigenous People, has been clearly stated that each country is responsible for ensuring the protection for the cultural heritage rights of all its :

At the time of increasing globalization, the protection, conservation, interpretation and presentation of the heritage and cultural diversity of any particular place or region is an important challenge for people everywhere. However, management of that heritage, within a framework of internationally recognized and appropriately applied standards, is usually the reasonability of particular community or custodian group. (ICOMOS, 1999)

Everything has positive and negative side. Aborigine is indigenous one that have a right to have the same facilities, same right like others, they also have a right to have good and peace life. The policy for Aborigine people should not exploit them and just take advantages for them, but also, there is better life for the indigenous.


Hartoyo, J.J Richard.2007. Australian Studies. Semarang: Pelita Insani

Tourism Research Australia.2010. Indigenous Tourism in Australia: Profiling The Domestic Market. Canberra: ACT 2601

S, Cheong Carroline.2008. Sustainable Tourism and Indigenous Communities: The Case of  Amantani and Taquile Islands. Taken from

Trau, Adam, and Robyn Bushell. Tourism and Indigenous Peoples. Australia taken from

Australian Government Initiative. 2009. Australian Tourism Development Program. Taken from accessed on July 3th, 2013 accessed on July 3th, 2013


3 thoughts on “Impact of Indigenous (Aborigine) Tourism toward The Indigenous People

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