Australian Indigenous Tourism: why the low participation rate from domestic tourists?

Espinosa Abascal, Trinidad (2014) Australian Indigenous Tourism: why the low participation rate from domestic tourists? Research Master thesis, Victoria University.


Tourism is often promoted as a development tool for Indigenous communities. However, Tourism Research Australia shows that domestic demand for Australian Indigenous tourism products, in comparison to four other types of mainstream tourism, is quite low. To explore why domestic visitors are less engaged in Indigenous tourism than other tourism types, this study adopts a mixed-methods case study approach. Semi-structured interviews using sorting-ranking photo-based procedures were conducted with 52 domestic visitors at Halls Gap, within the Grampians National Park, Victoria, Australia. The findings suggest that domestic visitors‟ preferences for Indigenous tourism activities are inconsistently distributed. While many domestic visitors are willing to visit the rock-art sites, they are less interested in experiencing the cultural centre. Despite these differences in preferences, the motivations for engaging in both activities are similar. These motivations are: Learning, connection with history/land, appreciation, learning opportunities for children, explore/discovery, understanding, physical challenge/adventure, and reflection. However, domestic visitors at the destination under investigation are more willing to experience rock-art sites, as they perceive it to be an activity that is more connected with history/land, that involves physical activity and that feels more authentic. Two types of barriers –internal and external- when engaging in these activities are identified. The internal barriers are: Lack of interest, prefer other activities, saturation, and limited time available. The external barriers identified are: Inauthentic/passive, not being in the target audience, lack of awareness, boring, and indoor activity (mentioned as a barrier to participating in the cultural centre). This study proposes that Australian Indigenous tourism strategies look beyond the creation of Indigenous tourism products such as cultural centres, and consider focussing on those areas that can have a more significant impact upon the domestic tourism participation rate in Indigenous tourism. This focus includes marketing strategies directed to the domestic target market, training, and further developing points of differentiation between Indigenous cultures in Australia.

Additional Information

Master of Business

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1506 Tourism
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Business
Keywords domestic tourism, domestic visitors, tourists, sustainable tourism, Aboriginal, cultural centres, participation, marketing, tourism demand, motivation, barriers, Torres Strait Islanders, the Grampians, Victoria
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