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Tourists, tour guides and true stories: Aboriginal cultural tourism in the Top End

Pitcher, Merridy Jane (1999). Tourists, tour guides and true stories: Aboriginal cultural tourism in the Top End. PhD Thesis, Northern Territory University.

Document type: Thesis
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Author Pitcher, Merridy Jane
Title Tourists, tour guides and true stories: Aboriginal cultural tourism in the Top End
Institution Northern Territory University
Publication Date 1999
Thesis Type PhD
Subjects 1506 - Tourism
1599 - Other Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Abstract This thesis is a descriptive and critical anthropological study of the marketing, production and consumption of Aboriginal cultural tourism at Manyallaluk, an Aboriginal owned and operated enterprise in the 'Top End' of the Northern Territory. Aboriginal cultural tours are participatory, and provide tourists with an opportunity to collect and taste bush foods and medicines, visit sites of significance, try arts, crafts and 'traditional' skills and listen to Dreamtime stories. The thesis argues that Aboriginal cultural tours are knowledge-based products and discusses the important communicative role of the guides in the representation and interpretation of Aboriginal culture and country. It describes how the knowledge the guides convey is localised and personalised and contrasts with the homogenised representations of Aboriginality found in many touristic and non touristic texts. In the thesis I describe the socio-demographic and travel characteristics of the tourists who visit ManyaUaluk. I describe the tourists' interests and activities while in the Darwin!Katherine region, their sources of information about Manyallaluk and their interest in and knowledge of Aboriginal culture prior to their visit to Manyallaluk. I draw attention to the diversity of tourists who visit Manyallaluk and correspondingly, to their diverse perceptions of their tour experience. The thesis also assesses tourist satisfaction with their Aboriginal cultural tour experience and recommends ways of better matching product to demand. The thesis explores the wider historical and contemporary political context of Aboriginal tourism development. It links government support for the development of cultural and other forms of niche market tourism to global changes in the industry and to changing consumer tastes. It describes and compares recently released Commonwealth, state, Northern Territory and regional indigenous tourism policies and highlights the varying interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, government bodies, indigenous representative organisations and the mainstream tourism industry.

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