Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Culture is an important part of your sustainability journey. By working respectfully with local First Nations and multicultural communities, you can:

  • give your visitors insight into Australia’s unique history and cultural identity
  • make your experiences distinct by highlighting what’s special about your community.

Acknowledge the Country you're on

An Acknowledgement of Country is a statement that recognises the First Nations people of the land you’re on. Anyone can deliver an Acknowledgement of Country as a sign of awareness and respect for local First Nations people. For example, if you run tours you may like to deliver an Acknowledgement of Country at the beginning of the tour.

You can display your Acknowledgement of Country on your website and on your premises.

If you're hosting an event, you can invite a local Traditional Owner to deliver a Welcome to Country. Only Traditional Owners of the land on which the event takes place can deliver a Welcome to Country.

Reflect the diversity of your local community

Design your experiences to suit your place, including the cultures that make your destination special. It's important to be sincere and build relationships with people first.

Here are some tips for working collaboratively with culture in mind:

  • Develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to help you learn about First Nations cultural practices. A RAP can help you build relationships, respect and opportunities through collaboration with First Nations people.
  • Look for opportunities to work with Indigenous businesses. For example, you could use Supply Nation to find verified Indigenous businesses. 
  • Consider the stories you can tell about your area. Include both historical and contemporary narratives of life and culture.
  • Provide a platform for local communities to share their stories. For example, you can commission a mural or certified artwork.
  • Seek permission and advice from local communities on how to include their traditions in your experiences.

Authenticity and integrity are essential in creating ethical visitor experiences. If you don’t have permission from people, avoid sharing their stories and traditions.

For advice on contacting Traditional Owners in your area, speak to your local council or National Indigenous Australians Agency regional office.

Respect cultural intellectual property

Intellectual property rights cover people’s artwork, traditional knowledge and cultural expressions.

By selling unethically sourced or fake First Nations art, businesses deprive artists and their families opportunities. Visitors often don’t know that what they’re buying is either unethically sourced or fake.

There are things you can do to make sure you’re supporting artists and their communities:

  • Where possible, buy art directly from the artist or from suppliers that are members of the Indigenous Art Code.
  • Only buy and sell authentic Indigenous products from reputable businesses. The seller should be able to tell you where the products came from, who the artists are and give you a certificate of authenticity.
  • Seek permission from the artist before you take photos or videos, and written permission before you publish photos or videos of their art. Check you have their permission to publish content on social media or elsewhere.
  • Don’t copy or adapt any art without the artist’s permission.
  • Credit authors, creators or contributors of ceremonies, dance or songs.
  • Ask permission to touch or handle objects of cultural significance.
  • Don't take or sell anything from areas of cultural significance such as rocks, shells or plants.

Be inclusive of culturally diverse visitors

People from all parts of the world visit Australia. How you engage with them reflects on your destination and can determine your success.

Make sure you do the following:

  • Do research to understand your visitors, their needs and cultural backgrounds.
  • Train your employees in cultural competency – being respectful to all people.
  • Translate your information to remove language barriers. If people who speak a certain language visit regularly, translate key documents and signs into their language.
  • Provide clear points of contact for visitors so they know where to go for help.

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