Julie Finlayson

Document Type

Working Paper


The principal focus of this report has been with issues of direct concern to Aboriginal people and communities involved with cultural tourism. Report recommendations stress the need for greater consideration of Aboriginal cultural perspectives in the development and implementation of government policies.

A central question to emerge from the study is whether cultural tourism is merely a novel angle within current developments in tourism and enjoying a good deal of attention and enthusiasm from tourist organisations and operators, or whether it is primarily a context for commercial enterprise development by Aboriginal people? A related matter is the question of what purpose Aboriginal ventures in cultural tourism are designed to serve and in whose interests they are developed? Answers to these issues were not always obvious to Aboriginal people involved in the ventures surveyed nor was it necessarily apparent to some of the non-Aboriginal participants.

The purpose of Aboriginal tourism ventures is problematic in public policy and in bureaucratic practice. While multiculturalism is providing new direction in museums through public education and in acquisition and display policies, the popular definition of the multiculturalism in cultural tourism lacks consensus. However, Aboriginal people are consistent in their rejection of descriptions of themselves as 'ethnic communities'.