WWF - Australia

WWF - Australia

This former TreadRight project involved working with WWF Australia to develop community-based tourism initiatives in Australia’s Kimberley Coast.


Tourism has the potential to bring significant advantages to the local communities, however, if not managed sustainably, it can also have a very negative impact. Meaningful Aboriginal participation in the tourism industry is key.

TreadRight, in cooperation with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia and the Kimberley Land Council, worked to develop the community-based tourism initiatives with the aim of developing Indigenous owned and managed businesses in the Kimberley region while ensuring protection of the environment, seeking to foster Indigenous participation in Kimberley tourism and contribute to long-term goals for sustainable tourism that respects the cultural and natural assets of the region.


Among the outcomes of the three year project was the establishment of indigenous cultural awareness tourism programs by the Bardi Jawi people.

A full day cultural awareness experience was developed involving Bardi Jawi rangers and cultural elders engaging with tourism operators. The Bardi Jawi people showcase to visitors the Bardi Jawi seafaring culture and history, and also explain their current roles as land managers, looking after country.

Increasing knowledge of the tourism industry for the Indigenous community has been key to the program’s success. This has been done through Indigenous tourism knowledge exchanges and tourism training. Building these skills support Aboriginal groups to better manage the existing tourism in the region and develop solutions for greater economic involvement in the industry.

The program provides ongoing assistance to the Bardi Jawi rangers to review and improve the group’s cultural awareness products, as well as to add value to their product through producing brochures and other learning tools.

In 2011, the program was awarded the Western Australia Coastal Award for Excellence in recognition of an exceptional contribution to protecting the environment. The Bardi Jawi model has become an example for other Aboriginal groups wishing to develop their own cultural awareness product through the project.


This project developed community-based tourism initiatives, directly contributing to a growth in jobs within the tourism industry that promote local culture and products. It also empowered Indigenous people to be included in decision-making, as well as provide local employment opportunities for decent work. The full day of cultural awareness involving Bardi Jawi rangers and elders was an educational opportunity for tourism operators to learn about sustainable development, gain an appreciation of cultural diversity and the Indigenous people’s contributions to the Kimberly Region and its sustainable development.

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