New Aboriginal Tourism Operators Council to drive development of businesses and experiences in SA
South Australian Aboriginal Tourism Operators Council (SAATOC), a professional tourism association specifically for Aboriginal-owned tourism businesses, is being established to drive the development of authentic Aboriginal tourism products and experiences in the state.
An interim Board comprising Aboriginal tourism business representatives was formed on Tuesday 26 September 2023 during a workshop with eligible businesses. Haydyn Bromley, Bookabee Tours Australia, has been appointed Chair to lead the interim Board which will be in place until SAATOC is incorporated, and an Annual General Meeting held.
For more than two decades, it has been recognised that a dedicated association is fundamental to realising the potential of Aboriginal tourism in South Australia, including new authentic and quality experiences for visitors, and more Aboriginal-owned tourism businesses.
Chair Haydyn Bromley said, ‘The formation of the interim Board marks a huge milestone in the support and further development of authentic Aboriginal tourism experiences across SA.
‘This is a vital step in maturing the tourism industry around the delivery of genuine Aboriginal Cultural immersion experiences and tour product for the broader cultural tourism-seeking market.
‘Through SAATOC, we will be able to provide Aboriginal people who have tourism businesses with support and opportunities.
‘The interim Board is positioned well to meet the challenges of the changing tourism industry.’
The South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) provided funding to the Tourism Industry Council of SA (TiCSA) to explore and deliver activities that support the establishment of SAATOC, in collaboration with Aboriginal tourism operators. The formation of SAATOC will also contribute to achieving the objectives of the SATC’s Aboriginal Tourism Action Plan.
Minister for Tourism and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Zoe Bettison MP, said,
‘I congratulate TiCSA and the interim SAATOC board for the hard work they’ve done, and will continue to do in the future, to grow and promote Aboriginal tourism businesses in South Australia over coming years.
‘As a State, we need to build on the success of existing Aboriginal tourism operators that are already giving visitors to South Australia an understanding of the culture, the history, and the deep connection to country that Aboriginal people have had over many thousands of years.
‘In South Australia, we further support and learn about the diversity and the knowledge that Aboriginal people have in our state. For visitors, it gives them an opportunity to get introduced to South Australia not just for its incredible beaches and high-quality wine but also for the long history of people living on this land, and for their insights, language, and culture worthy of experiencing and appreciating.’
TiCSA will continue to facilitate the establishment of SAATOC, including working with the interim Board to finalise a draft constitution, develop appropriate governance policies and procedures, and establish membership. SAATOC is being modelled on the very successful Western Australia Indigenous Tourism Operators Council which, for over 20 years, has achieved impressive outcomes for Aboriginal tourism, business owners, and Aboriginal-led economic development in that state.
TiCSA CEO Shaun de Bruyn said the organisation was pleased to play a role in establishing SAATOC.
‘This is a significant moment for tourism in South Australia,’ Mr de Bruyn said. ‘An association led by diverse and experienced Aboriginal tourism operators represents an exciting future for the growth of Aboriginal cultural experiences. This will also have an extremely positive impact on our visitor economy more broadly.’
Interim Board members:
- Haydyn Bromley, Bookabee Tours Australia (Chair)
- Ivy Campbell, Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Tours
- Mark Koolmatrie, Kool Tours
- Quenten Agius, Aboriginal Cultural Tours
- Tjimari Sanderson-Milera, Kumarninthi Cultural Education
- Wayne Miller, Arts Ceduna
- Ken Jones, Bush Adventures
For further commentary, please contact:
Tourism Industry Council SA
Phone: 08 8231 3085