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Tourism and Indigenous Festivals: A Northern Territory Perspective

Tremblay, Pascal and Haydon, Jennifer (2007). Tourism and Indigenous Festivals: A Northern Territory Perspective. In: McDonnell, Greg, Grabowski, Simone and March, Roger CAUTHE 2007, Sydney, 11-14 February 2007.

Document type: Conference Paper
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Author Tremblay, Pascal
Haydon, Jennifer
Title Tourism and Indigenous Festivals: A Northern Territory Perspective
Conference Name CAUTHE 2007
Conference Location Sydney
Conference Dates 11-14 February 2007
Conference Publication Title Proceedings of the 17th Annual CAUTHE Conference: Tourism - Past Achievements, Future Challenges
Editor McDonnell, Greg
Grabowski, Simone
March, Roger
Place of Publication Sydney, NSW, Australia
Publisher University of Technology, Sydney
Publication Year 2007
ISBN 978-0-646-46998-0   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 1629
End Page 1637
Total Pages 9
HERDC Category E1 - Conference Publication (DEST)
Abstract Most Indigenous festivals in the Northern Territory originated with a community development focus, while tourists have incidentally come to be expected in some proportions. Now that the support for festivals has become a recognized initiative for Indigenous tourism development in the Northern Territory, communities running festivals must assess the costs and benefits of transforming or developing festivals. In particular they must consider how efforts to share culture, entertain and/or educate tourists will contribute to their own objectives, including financial support for the events themselves. This paper provides a brief exploration of the perceived advantages and disadvantages of linking community festivals to the tourism sphere. Preliminary evidence shows that it is not possible to generalize as to the viability and impacts of such events in part because they feature different objectives and motivations, and most importantly because they highlight different contexts, in particular with respect to quite dissimilar stages of entrepreneurial development. The paper uses results of visitor research conducted in five small Indigenous festivals in the NT and one emerging proposal to assess their contributions to regional destination development and highlight the challenges and perils ahead in trying to bring these events in the tourism realm. It is found that although Indigenous festivals do not currently attract significant additional numbers of visitors to the Territory, they have great potential to add value to the visitors' experiences, might contribute to the NT's reputation with respect to Aboriginal cultural attractions in the future and can provide valuable declarative spaces for the host community in ways which have not yet been theorized.

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