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Sunday, May 26, 2024

New grant program to bolster Aboriginal tourism experiences in national parks

The Northern Territory Labor Government has introduced a groundbreaking grant program with a substantial funding pool of $1.4 million, aimed at cultivating Aboriginal tourism experiences and products across the Territory’s 33 jointly managed parks and reserves.

Named the Aboriginal Tourism Development in NT Parks and Reserves Grant Program, this initiative marks a significant first for the Northern Territory. Its primary objective is to empower Aboriginal Territorians to share their culture with visitors while reaping both cultural and economic benefits. Aboriginal-owned businesses and organizations are eligible to apply for grants ranging from $30,000 to $100,000 to develop Aboriginal cultural tourism experiences and products.

Funded jointly by the Territory Labor and Australian Governments, this new commitment of $6 million will be channelled into strategic Aboriginal tourism projects. These endeavours aim to enhance Aboriginal Territorians’ involvement in Australia’s tourism industry and generate substantial economic returns for the Northern Territory.

Joel Bowden, Minister for Tourism and Hospitality, emphasized that the program seeks to connect visitors with one of the world’s oldest cultures through immersive tourism experiences that sustain Aboriginal tourism. He highlighted the allure of ancient Aboriginal cultures as a significant drawcard for international and domestic visitors, expressing pride in the joint investment with the Australian Government to bolster the Territory’s Aboriginal tourism sector.

Selena Uibo, Minister for Parks and Rangers, underscored the Territory’s vast array of parks and reserves, with 33 being jointly managed with Aboriginal Traditional Owners. She stressed that the grant program aligns with the overarching goals of joint management, including creating economic and employment opportunities for Traditional Owners and enriching cultural tourism experiences for park visitors across the Territory.

To be eligible, applicants must be NT Aboriginal-owned businesses or organizations intending to develop Aboriginal cultural tourism experiences and products for park visitors within one of the 33 NT joint-managed parks and reserves. Interested parties are encouraged to liaise with Tourism NT’s Aboriginal Tourism team to discuss ideas before submission.

The Aboriginal Tourism Development in NT Parks and Reserves Grant Program is open for applications from April 29, 2024, until November 29, 2024. Further details and grant guidelines can be accessed on the grantsnt.nt.gov.au website.

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