Indigenous Tourism Policy in Australia: 25 Years of Rhetoric and Economic Rationalism
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Successive Australian federal and State governments have produced tourism policies to facilitate the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander [ATSI] tourism. However, the effectiveness and appropriateness of these policies has been questioned. This paper describes a qualitative study examining federal and Queensland State governments' ATSI tourism policies during the period 1975 to 1999. Three main findings of the study were: (1) ATSI tourism policies are published in an ad hoc manner and appear to be related to a reactive approach by governments to broader ATSI social and economic issues; (2) economic concerns dominate ATSI tourism policies and emphasise the commodification of indigenous tourism; and (3) policies are strongly reflective of an economic-rationalist ideology. The study concludes that the emphasis on economic rationalism assists Australian tourism enterprises to be internationally competitive but may create undesirable consequences for indigenous tourism stakeholders.
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