‘Highly significant’: Coffs Creek development hailed
A LANDMARK project to construct eco-accommodation along Coffs Creek has been lauded by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council for its potential to showcase Indigenous culture.
Earlier this month a $5.4 million grant to enhance Indigenous cultural tourism in Coffs Harbour was announced by the NSW Government, with its centrepiece being an eco-resort situated along Coffs Creek.
The site will feature 30 self-contained eco-pods to complement Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation's tourism experiences along the waterway and at Orara East State Forest.
The project is in partnership with the Coffs Harbour and District Local Aboriginal Land Council and the state's peak representative body in Aboriginal affairs - NSWALC - is delighted with the exciting new growth in tourism led by the Indigenous community.
"The eco-pods will provide training and employment opportunities for local Aboriginal people in the hospitality and tourism sector, which is excellent news," NSWALC Mid-North Coast councillor Peter Smith said.
"Aboriginal cultural eco-tourism is a valuable developing industry for the local community and an opportunity to showcase our culture, skills and expertise."
Meanwhile, the state's peak tourism body, Destination NSW, has partnered with a unique organisation promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism experiences in an effort to get people out supporting cultural tourism in their own state.
The 'Experience Your Own Backyard' campaign is a partnership with Indigenous tourism platform Welcome to Country, which showcases 14 Aboriginal tourism operators in NSW alone.
Welcome to Country is a not-for-profit launched 12 months ago with the aim of achieving positive employment and economic outcomes in the Aboriginal community through tourism.
Beginning in the Northern Territory, it is now promoting and assisting Indigenous-led tourism experiences in all states and territories, with the exception of the ACT.
"The campaign highlights the diversity and richness of Aboriginal experiences in NSW and presents the perfect opportunity for every Australian to explore and discover their own back yard," CEO Jason Eades said.
"You are guaranteed to see it in a different way."
Clark Webb, operator of Wajaama Yaam Adventure Tours and executive officer of BMNAC, said he was pleased to be part of the campaign and the growing the Aboriginal tourism community.
Mr Webb has been instrumental in securing the $5.4m grant from the NSW Regional Growth Tourism Environment Fund.
"Aboriginal tourism is vitally important from a conservation, revitalisation and socio-economic perspective," he said.
EDIT: This story was changed to reflect the true destination of the eco-pod development, Coffs Creek. Not Boambee Creek as had been previously stated.