The Aboriginal Community of Kalumburu is one of the most remote and isolated in Australia. Located in the north-east Kimberley region of Western Australia, road access to the Community is by 4WD only, with the closest township of Kununurra 550km away. The Community is home to 400 people, with more than 45% of residents currently unemployed.
Despite its remoteness, the region is becoming increasingly popular with self-drive visitors who come to the area for coastal camping, fishing, hiking and nature enjoyment. Increasing visitation created a unique opportunity for local people to be involved in and benefit from tourism.
In February 2019, TRC was engaged to work with the Community on tourism planning and development. We met with local Community members to learn about their tourism and business aspirations. This was followed by visits on Country with local custodians to understand the current tourism offer and what new opportunities existed. After our initial visit and delivery of a short-term Tourism Action Plan, TRC was further contracted to participate in monthly Community visits over the course of six months (starting May 2019).
Our approach to this project focussed on the importance of using participatory planning techniques and applying an ‘Indigenous Lens’ or point of view so that local people own, are empowered by, and can deliver their tourism vision.
It was important that clear and achievable pathways were created that incorporated ongoing support, opportunities to live and work on Country and provided multiple benefits for the broader Community.
During the contract, TRC developed a Tourism Marketing Plan and promotional materials; designed simple business plans for five individuals interested in starting or growing their tourism business; undertook product testing, training and mentoring; developed an online visitor survey and 2019 Visitor Survey Report; applied for grants to support implementation of the range of project initiatives; and developed an overarching Kalumburu Community Business Plan.