Indigenous tourism operator Lirrwi Tourism has been honoured with one of Australia’s most important environmental accolades, winning a Banksia Award for Sustainability at a ceremony in Sydney on Friday night.
The award, for Indigenous Leadership in Sustainability, recognises the efforts of Lirrwi Tourism and Yolngu communities in east Arnhem Land to develop a sustainable tourism industry that celebrates and shares Indigenous knowledge with visitors.
The Chairman of the Lirrwi Yolngu Tourism Aboriginal Corporation, Djawa ‘Timmy’ Burarrwanga, said the Banksia Award was a huge honour and a welcome acknowledgement of Yolngu tradition.
“The Yolngu people have lived sustainably in Arnhem Land for tens of thousands of years and sustainability is one of the most important guiding principles we have in developing our tourism industry,” Mr Burarrwanga said. “Sustainable tourism gives us an opportunity to share Yolngu knowledge about the land while at the same time providing a pathway to economic sustainability for our communities.”
Lirrwi Tourism operates a successful program of tours and cultural awareness programs for corporate groups, schools, expedition cruise passengers and other visitors. Its guests are able to camp with Yolngu families in their homelands and take part in traditional activities like hunting, food gathering, weaving, crafts and dance.
Lirrwi Tourism operates as part of the Yolngu Tourism Masterplan, a long-term vision that aims to create dozens of Indigenous-owned tourism businesses in Arnhem Land as a means of fostering economic independence, strengthening cultural traditions and boosting Australia’s international tourism profile.
The Banksia Sustainability Awards are regarded as the most prestigious and longest-running sustainability awards in Australia. The awards recognise individuals, communities, businesses and governments for their innovation, achievement and commitment to sustainability.