- More than 550 Indigenous tourism delegates have gathered in Perth for the second World Indigenous Tourism Summit (WITS)
- First World Indigenous Tourism Summit held in Australia
The 2023 World Indigenous Tourism Summit (WITS) officially opened in Perth last night, marking the first time the event has ever been hosted in Australia.
More than 550 delegates, of which 15 per cent are from overseas, have convened for the four-day program of inspiring discussions on topics pertinent to growing Indigenous Tourism in their respective nations.
Hosted this year by the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators' Council (WAITOC), one of the founding members of the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA), the theme of this year's Summit is: "Tourism and Indigenous Earth Wisdom: Weaving the Future that Benefits All", which is being explored throughout the Summit program.
On Monday, a series of symposiums for academic, government and youth representatives took place, followed by a program of plenary sessions and thought-provoking panel discussions to examine the challenges and opportunities in Indigenous Tourism.
The World Indigenous Summit was officially opened with a cultural evening on the Great Lawn at Crown Perth. Tonight, there will be a showcase of traditional dances by Indigenous dance groups from around the world to delegates and invited guests. This ceremony will highlight the important connection each of these Indigenous groups has to their culture, spirit and land, and reinforce why communities in all nations need to work with Indigenous peoples to generate authentic Indigenous tourism experiences.
The event also provides an opportunity for the WA Government to share recent milestones reached as part of the Jina: Western Australian Aboriginal Tourism Action Plan 2021-2025 to an international audience.
The Jina Plan was developed by Tourism WA, together with other government agencies, as well as WAITOC and representatives from the State's Aboriginal tourism industry, with the aim of Western Australia becoming the nation's premier destination for authentic Aboriginal tourism.
The concept for the World Indigenous Tourism Summit was developed by the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA) 11 years ago in Perth.
The first World Indigenous Tourism Summit was held in Waitangi, New Zealand in April 2018 with the aim of becoming an annual event.
The 2024 World Indigenous Summit will be held in Taiwan.
Find out more about the World Indigenous Tourism Summit https://www.wits2023.com.au
Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Roger Cook:
"The World Indigenous Tourism Summit brings together friends and allies from diverse parts of the tourism industry, including Indigenous and non-Indigenous tourism operators, academics, government representatives and youth, and we are truly proud to be hosting the first Australian Summit right here in WA.
"Australia and its largest state, Western Australia, is home to the world's oldest living culture, and has a diverse range of Aboriginal cultures across an equally diverse variety of landscapes - making WA certainly a fitting location for Australia's first World Indigenous Tourism Summit.
"We know 80 per cent of visitors to our State seek an authentic Aboriginal cultural experience that is tied to the land and its people; where the visitor can experience spectacular landscapes while learning more about the oldest living culture on earth.
"Indigenous people are Australia's first tour guides and storytellers and have been perfecting this trade for thousands of years.
"I'm excited for us all to learn these stories and hear other Indigenous Peoples' experiences over the days of this Summit."
Minister's office - 6552 6500