Tourism potential in long grass community

25-Jun-2014

Population and tourism researcher Andrew Taylor says sections of the long grasser community are tourists under any definition of the word

Population and tourism researcher Andrew Taylor says sections of the long grasser community are tourists under any definition of the word


A Charles Darwin University researcher says labelling part of the Indigenous “long grasser” community as tourists could change negative public views about this group.

Population and tourism researcher Andrew Taylor said many long grassers (people who live rough in parks and bushland) in the Northern Territory were tourists under any definition of the word.

Dr Taylor said focusing on this marginalised group’s contributions to society as tourists could improve relationships between these visitors and local communities.

“Under the official definition, many members of the long grass community are clearly tourists,” Dr Taylor said.

“Like every group of tourists, they spend money and they contribute to the places they are in at the time.”

Dr Taylor said tourism businesses in rural Northern Australia could also benefit from this tourism market.

He said viewing Indigenous long grassers and other Indigenous people “on the move” as tourists could encourage new infrastructure for these people to be built.

“We might think of it as ‘leveraging tourism’ instead of ‘people sleeping rough’,” Dr Taylor said.

“The current management approach (to long grassers) is based on regulation and planning instead of encouraging greater empathy and social exchange.”

He said a tourist was someone who stayed one or more nights at a place more than 30km from their usual residence.

Dr Taylor recently presented this concept at the 10th Annual International Conference on Tourism in Greece.

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