Redlands looks to cultural experiences

The Redlands will learn from New Zealand’s successful tourism model to develop its own world-class cultural tourism identity, Redland City Mayor Karen Williams says.

Cr Williams, who recently attended the World Indigenous Tourism Summit and visited New Zealand cultural tourism enterprises with representatives of the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) and the tourism industry, said there was no doubt the Redlands’ rich Quandamooka heritage would contribute significantly to the city’s economic future.

“There was a clear message in what we saw in New Zealand, which is a leading example of how to embed tourism into culture, rather than culture simply being a commercial opportunity,’’ Cr Williams said.

“The traditional stories and traditions of the Maoris thrive through tourism … and people want to experience them. We visited great examples of how this is done well, such as an arts and cultural facility born out of a small group of traditional weavers and carvers that has grown into a centre that supports a school for these ancient skills and generates income through commissioned pieces sold world-wide.

“We can learn so much from how they ‘culturalise’ an experience rather than commercialising culture, with our Quandamooka traditional heritage and natural environment really quite breathtaking. There, as we are doing in the Redlands, local government has helped by creating a climate for such enterprises to succeed and investing in destination marketing and tourism development. And, like the Redlands, there are strong relationships and a desire to make it happen on all sides, with the Quandamooka Festival a wonderful example.”

QYAC CEO Cameron Costello said the Quandamooka Coast was ideally placed to become the region’s leading international-standard indigenous tourism destination, particularly with new glamping accommodation, a cultural centre, whale interpretive facility and new recreational trail projects in the pipeline.

“Our Quandamooka heritage is increasingly being embraced and celebrated in the city through events such as the annual Quandamooka Festival,’’ Mr Costello said.

“Indigenous tourism, done sensitively and authentically, can be the unique tourism driver that the Redlands needs. The trip gained valuable insights into global best practice and strategies for world class tourism experiences.

“We are well placed to be the first in South East Queensland to really nail our cultural tourism opportunities and capitalise on state and council infrastructure investment, including the billions being poured in to Brisbane’s airport, Queen’s Wharf, cruise terminal and Howard Smith Wharf and Cleveland’s Toondah Harbour.

“All connect with the bay and can benefit from access to authentic traditional cultural experiences. Along with Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), our Quandamooka culture can provide it, helping to make the region an internationally desired destination.”

The delegation, organised by Brisbane Marketing, included Member for Redlands Kim Richards and Division 2 Councillor Peter Mitchell, as well as Queensland tourism industry representatives.

“We greatly appreciate the support and commitment from Council, the State Government, Brisbane Marketing, Flight Centre and Air New Zealand to take positive steps to realise our vision for the Quandamooka Coast to become a global eco cultural tourism destination,” Mr Costello said.

Brisbane Marketing CEO Brett Fraser said the further development of traditional cultural experiences would enhance the Greater Brisbane region’s appeal as a tourism destination, particularly from international markets.

“By identifying world’s best practice in New Zealand, the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation is well-placed to share its culture to visitors in a unique way that will resonate and create long-lasting memories,” he said.

“We know that authentic traditional cultural experiences and story-telling are highly sought-after by visitors and these offerings will help grow tourism numbers, contribute to the local economy and aid the region in standing out as a world-class destination.”

Flight Centre marketing manager Tara Young, who was part of the delegation, said the trip gave the company confidence that Quandamooka Country had a lot to offer the world tourism stage.

“Flight Centre is excited to be on this journey with the Quandamooka People and looks forward to helping the people celebrating and showcasing their culture and country, to Australian and international markets,’’ she said.