Indigenous tourism organisations from Australia, Canada, Nepal, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States have collectively endorsed the formation of a World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WITA).
Mr. Neville Poelina Chairperson of WAITOC, the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council, said that the combined decision to proceed with the formation of WITA marks the culmination of years of discussions by Indigenous tourism organisations in many different parts of the world.
“We share the same belief that Indigenous values provide the opportunity for improved global social, environmental and economic outcomes, not just for Indigenous peoples but for all peoples,” said Mr. Poelina.
The announcement of the formation of WITA comes at the time that the Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference 2012 is about to take place in Darwin. A number of representatives from WITA Indigenous tourism organisations will be participating at the conference.
Mr. Poelina said that WITA intends to operate according to universal Indigenous values which are based on fostering mutually beneficial relationships between different peoples and also between people and the environment.
“The time is right for Indigenous tourism to take a more active role in the development of tourism. We will be seeking to work cooperatively with governments and the tourism industry in a manner that puts the development of Indigenous tourism in the hands of Indigenous peoples,” said Mr. Poelina.