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Landmark Agreement to Respect Our Culture

Landmark Agreement to Respect Our Culture
August 11, 2008

A landmark agreement to maximise the future growth of the Respect Our Culture (ROC) Certification Program through the national tourism industry network of Ecotourism Australia has been reached.

The agreement, between Ecotourism Australia and Aboriginal Tourism Australia (ATA), was made prior to the closure of ATA on 31st July 2008.

It ensures that the Tourism Business Accreditation of existing ROC Certified Businesses will remain active.

As Ecotourism Australia Chief Executive, Stephen Pahl explains "the new joint arrangement will draw from the long established commitment of Ecotourism Australia to Indigenous Tourism development and Indigenous culture to maximise the presence and level of best practice of this important tourism industry sector."

Rick Murray, ATA's last Director added that "we have now reached an agreement with Ecotourism Australia to 'house' ROC businesses.

"Those businesses which have a ânatural area focusâ will transfer into the Eco Certification program at Nature Tourism level. From there they will be encouraged to aim to upgrade to Ecotourism standard or beyond over time. The other ROC certified businesses will have their accreditation administered by Ecotourism Australia and will be granted membership of Ecotourism Australia to ensure they continue to have involvement in a national tourism organisation. All the operators will continue to have all their rights and responsibilities as ROC Accredited Operators. All of this will take place at no cost to the operators and ATA will transfer the fees they have paid us this year to EA."

Pahl concluded "in addition, all of the indigenous owned, ROC Certified businesses will be offered free registration at the annual Ecotourism Conference to be held this year in Adelaide.

"Their registration costs - around $900 each - will be met using funds provided to ATA by the Indigenous Land Corporation.

"ATA will not be running its planned Business Development Symposium this year, so we hope that this offer will enable these businesses to gain similar skill and knowledge improvements along with networking opportunities with the broader industry."

For more information contact Stephen Pahl of Ecotourism Australia on 07 3229 5550, E: ceo@ecotourism.org.auwww.ecotourism.org.au


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