NAIDOC Week 2021: Tourism Australia shows its support for Indigenous businesses

Paige Murphy
By Paige Murphy | 9 July 2021

Tourism Australia has shown its support for Indigenous culture and its central role in the nation's identity through a number of campaigns and initiatives this NAIDOC Week.

In 2019, 1.4 million international visitors (17%) participated in an Indigenous tourism experience, a 6% year on year increase since 2010.

For domestic travellers, the figure was one million, an increase of 13% each year since 2013.

Tourism Australia plans to enable a greater awareness, understanding and advocacy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culture by partnering with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples and businesses.

This, it says, will ultimately increase the value of the Indigenous tourism sector and improve the tourism experiences of holiday-makers.

Tourism Australia earlier this week launched Welcome to my Country – a video being distributed across a range of Tourism Australia’s owned channels.

Featuring prominent Aboriginal Elders, the film welcomes Australians to explore Country by connecting with our lands Traditional Custodians, learning their rich stories and sharing in culture – of which can be fostered with tourism experiences.

The Welcome to my Country video was written and created by Message Sticks and produced by Blackfisch, both majority Aboriginal-owned and operated companies.

The film is supported by a range of owned and earned initiatives to encourage Australians to seek out Indigenous tourism experiences.

“Tourism is one of the most impactful ways for Australians (and people from all around the world, in non-pandemic times) to connect with Country and share in tens of thousands of years of storytelling and millions of years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history on this land," Tourism Australia chief marketing officer Susan Coghill says.

“Furthermore, choosing to spend your holiday with an Indigenous-owned business can bring big benefits to communities by preserving jobs, boosting the local economy, and continuing cultural identity.

“We are proud to work with the tourism industry to showcase the incredible experiences on offer and there’s something special about being able to promote authentic, deep connection with Country through the knowledge and experience shared by Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal tour guides across our nation.”


Tourism Australia has also announced its participation as a founding partner in the Connect to Country movement, launched last week by Facebook Australia and Campfire X.

The Connect to Country movement invites Australians to better connect with Australia’s Indigenous cultures, and encourages brands and businesses to embed First Nations culture as an integral part of their physical and digital footprints.

Connect to Country spotlights positive storytelling and representation, and offers easy ways for everyone to make Indigenous Culture an essential part of our everyday life.

A new video asks all Australians “Where You From?” and encourages them to discover more about their local First Nations communities, with resources available on the ‘Connect to Country’ Facebook page.

In addition, Facebook Australia and Campfire x will launch a pilot series of unique First Nations stories that will be served to Facebook and Instagram users who live in corresponding areas, connecting them with the land they’re on.


As well as its involvement in Connect to Country and the launch of Welcome to my Country, Tourism Australia also launched its fourth Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in May.

The 2021 - 2023 Innovate RAP, developed in partnership with Reconciliation Australia, features action items and deliverables reflecting its refreshed strategy and approach.

"Our reconciliation vision is: one where the cultures and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Communities are embraced as central to our nation’s identity, and that all Australians feel proud of connecting with, and learning from, the storytelling of the world’s oldest living culture," Tourism Australia said in a statement.

The strategic priorities in the RAP are:

  1. To build upon the existing passion of our people to increase their knowledge, competency and advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, peoples and histories.
  2. Our campaigns will heighten the prominence and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural experiences, across all marketing channels, while also engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and businesses in the creation of this content.
  3. We will enable the growth of Indigenous tourism by increasing the domestic and global distribution footprint with travel and media trade partners.
  4. We will gain a deeper understanding of the insights shared by our domestic and international markets towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism experiences

The organisation has released a video about its RAP.

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