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Indigenous Garma Festival wins international recognition

Australia`s Garma Festival has won the `Educational Programmes…

Australia`s Garma Festival has won the `Educational Programmes – Media` category in the Skal International Ecotourism Awards 2005.

Indigenous Tourism Australia Executive Chairman, Aden Ridgeway welcomed the announcement congratulating the Yothu Yindi Foundation and partners for again hosting this fantastic event, which has now received the international accolade it deserves.

Representatives from Indigenous Tourism Australia and Tourism Australia participated in the Garma Festival of Traditional Indigenous Culture, which was held at Gulkula, near Nhulunbuy in north-east Arnhem Land from 5-9 August 2005.

Garma is Australia`s leading cultural exchange event, which brings together indigenous tourism operators, travel journalists and members of the wider community to learn about and experience authentic indigenous culture, Mr Ridgeway said. Australia`s eco and indigenous tourism experiences are world class and research has shown that around 25 per cent of international visitors to Australia would like to experience indigenous culture during their stay.

Mr Ridgeway also claimed, Indigenous Tourism Australia (ITA) is committed to developing high-quality indigenous and ecotourism experiences to meet the increasing demand from international and domestic tourists.The theme of this year`s Garma festival, `Indigenous Cultural Livelihoods` showcasing visual arts, dance and music, as well as other important cultural livelihood subjects such as eco-tourism, trade, and craft.Events such as the Garma Festival provide a unique opportunity for the Indigenous community to share ideas and develop the skills needed to establish and run sustainable and profitable tourism businesses.

Indigenous Tourism Australia facilitates consultation with the growing indigenous tourism sector on potential policies and programmes to encourage indigenous tourism ventures.

The ITA Industry Panel met for the first time to work through some of the practical challenges facing indigenous tourism in Australia and one of the key areas discussed was the need for improved understanding of quality indigenous tourism product and the needs of potential consumers, Mr Ridgeway said.

The Garma Festival plays an important role in developing understanding of Australia`s indigenous tourism ecotourism experiences and ITA looks forward to working with the Garma Festival and other Indigenous Tourism Operators to further develop high quality indigenous tourism experiences throughout Australia, Mr Ridgeway concluded.

Skal International, organisation of travel and tourism professionals in the world, launched the Ecotourism Awards in 2002, to highlight and acknowledge best practices around the globe.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.