Australia’s own Booderee National Park on the South Coast NSW took out a global responsible tourism award in London on 10 November 2010.
Booderee won the ‘best conservation of cultural heritage’ category at the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards 2010, competing against tourism organisations from across the world.
Environment Minister Tony Burke congratulated the park on this tremendous achievement.
Booderee National Park is a 6,000 hectare living cultural centre on the stunning south coast of New South Wales.
“The park is world-renowned for its diving, exceptionally clear water and diverse marine life but its most important asset is the way the park shares Koori culture with visitors.
“Booderee offers Aboriginal-led walks looking at traditional use of local plants such as bush tucker and medicines, and school holiday activities that help people see the park’s beautiful beaches and bushland through Koori eyes.
“This award celebrates the park’s ability to deliver a distinctively South Coast Indigenous experience, as well as offering excellent camping, bushwalking, bird watching, swimming, surfing and fishing.
“Booderee contains the only Aboriginal-owned botanic gardens in Australia and perhaps even the world. On a trip to Booderee Botanic Gardens, visitors can explore hundreds of native plants from the local area and find out about their significance to Koori people.
“It is not only the park that benefits from an award like this. This is a chance for all Australians to tell the world what a great country we have, with so many beautiful places like Booderee for people to visit.
“Responsible tourism is the future of the industry and Booderee National Park is a superb example, combining beautiful scenery, fascinating cultural history and a range of great holiday activities.”
Booderee is proof that a partnership between government and a marginalised community can work to protect cultural heritage through long-term conservation goals. The Park’s Botanic Gardens is the only Aboriginal-owned botanic garden in existence.
The judges of the global responsible tourism award recognised the partnership for preserving the privacy of the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community within the sanctuary zone, and using tourism to the National Park for securing their livelihoods.
With 430,000 visitors a year bringing in 1.2 million Australian Dollars and with 80% of the workers Indigenous and living within the park, the future plan for the community to take over sole management of the park alone is very real.”