First Nations tourism receives a $6 million boost

Published Friday, 28 June, 2024 at 01:57 PM

Minister for Tourism and Sport
The Honourable Michael Healy

  • $6 million from the Queensland and Australian Governments to enrich First Nations tourism across Queensland
  • Matched funding of $3 million aims to improve First Nations tourism experiences, create jobs and deliver events
  • 25 new projects funded, for completion by 31 December 2025.

First Nations tourism is set to receive a major boost with a $6 million combined investment from the Queensland Government and Australian Government designed to create more events, jobs and business opportunities.

The Strategic Indigenous Tourism Projects (SITP) will see matching $3 million commitments go towards 25 programs that will enrich First Nations tourism experiences across Queensland including:

  • Creating Regional First Nations Tourism Action Plans
  • Programs delivered by Tourism and Events Queensland to mentor First Nations businesses to deliver exceptional tourism experiences, prepare to be trade-ready and to deliver cultural event experiences
  • Implementation of the First Nations Tourism Plan 2020-2025
  • Emerging Field School Program for up to 60 businesses
  • Delivering Regional Industry Events
  • Continuing the Our Country Advisory Service delivery across Queensland.

Local communities and Traditional Owners will help develop the projects within each program, to recognise each area’s unique opportunities and needs.

The funding will create exciting employment pathways, new events and expand the supply of high quality First Nations tourism experiences for visitors to Queensland in the lead up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.

There will be more supply chain opportunities for other Indigenous businesses, delivering long term economic benefits to the Indigenous tourism sector.

The funds for projects will be administered by the Department of Tourism and Sport and other tourism peak bodies including:

  • Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ)
  • Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC)
  • Queensland First Nations Tourism Council (QFNTC),
  • Independent Indigenous Tourism Operators of Queensland (IITOQ)
  • and Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs).

The SITP is part of the Federal Government’s $17 million Indigenous Tourism Fund and aligns with the priority reform areas set out in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and the Queensland Governments Towards Tourism 2032 Strategy.

The 25 projects will be scheduled for completion by 31 December 2025.

Quotes attributable to Tourism and Sport Minister Michael Healy:

“We want Queensland to be Australia’s leading destination for First Nations tourism activities.

“One of the top bucket list items for tourists is to have an authentic Indigenous tourism experience.

“This funding will help develop innovative First Nations tourism products, unique to each area, delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“It will benefit the whole tourism industry and build wealth creation opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Quotes attributable to Senator for Queensland and Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, Nita Green:

“Queensland’s rich cultural heritage offers unparalleled opportunities for tourists to engage with First Nations experiences.

“Investment in First Nations tourism not only boosts our economy but also strengthens cultural understand and appreciation.

“I am proud of the Albanese and Miles Government’s investment in this sector.”

Quotes attributable to Cameron Costello, Interim Chair, Queensland First Nations Tourism Council

“First Nations tourism experiences are unparalleled in their ability to connect you deeply and authentically with a sense of place uniquely derived from the world’s oldest living culture.

“Queensland has the potential to be Australia’s pre-eminent destination for First Nations experiences, and the announcement today provides a unique opportunity to leverage the interest and international visitation associated with Brisbane 2032.

“We look forward to working with our First Nations tourism operators and businesses, industry and the Queensland and Australian Governments as part of the Strategic Indigenous Tourism Initiative to grow the sector, generate economic opportunities for Indigenous people and communities across the state, and create great experiences for visitors."

Quotes attributable to Linc Walker, Director, Independent Indigenous Tourism Operators of Queensland

“This investment in new First Nations tourism projects recognises the enormous potential to bring more authentic tourism activities and products for Indigenous people to work on their traditional Countries.

“The opportunity for our mobs to showcase new activities, places and stories across Queensland is welcome and will have a positive flow-on effect across Indigenous tourism operations and local communities.

“It’s exciting to think we’ve only just scratched the surface with the development and growth of First Nations tourism in Queensland.”

Quotes attributable to Matt Cameron-Smith, CEO of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia (operators of Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre)

“We know travellers are seeking authentic and meaningful Indigenous tourism experiences – equally they are recognising the importance of ensuring these are mutually beneficial.

“Our business operates at the forefront of socially responsible tourism. We’re really proud that the Centre employs 65% Indigenous team members and is also home to the National Indigenous Training Academy (NITA), empowering a young Indigenous workforce in tourism and hospitality through market-leading training and qualifications.

“Today’s boost to First Nations tourism in Queensland promises to create even more employment pathways for Indigenous Australians while supporting an industry that plays a crucial role in keeping Indigenous culture strong for the next generation.”

Quotes attributable to Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Patricia O’Callaghan:

“This builds on the momentum created by Queensland’s Year of Indigenous Tourism across 2020-21 and it is an exciting step for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences across our state.

“We continue to see growing demand for authentic, cultural experiences and Queensland is unique in being the only place in Australia where our two Indigenous cultures meet, offering an incredible opportunity for visitors.

“TEQ is proud to be working closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to build marketing capacity and showcase their experiences to the world.”

Quotes attributable to Brett Fraser, CEO, Queensland Tourism Industry Council

“We welcome funding and support measures that elevate First Nations tourism in Queensland.

“We know that visitors are increasingly seeking experiences that connect them with nature and culture.

“It is more important than ever for Queensland to invest in this growing interest and to draw attention to and elevate the world’s oldest living cultures.

“As an industry that puts people, culture, and land at the heart of its service, it is critical that we work together to embed Indigenous representation in Queensland tourism.”


Media contact – Peter Michael 0477 948 091