Accor’s Mercure Cairns Harbourside hotel has taken its commitment to local Far North Queensland indigenous communities a step further, last week (June 26) unveiling a plaque to formally recognise the Gimuy Walubara Yindindj People, traditional owners of the hotel’s waterfront address.
The plaque, which now sits at the entrance of the hotel in the lobby area, was presented to Gimuy Walubara Yindindj representatives Henrietta Marie-Fourmile and Sieth Fourmile by Mercure Cairns Harbourside’s General Manager, Shane Edwards.
A traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremony and dance was also performed to help celebrate the occasion.
Mercure’s guest list included senior Accor management from as far as Brisbane, Rockhampton, Townsville and the great Tropical North Queensland region, with additional VIP guests and family members from the Gimuy (Cairns) region.
Mercure Cairns Harbourside heads up the Reconciliation Programs and Indigenous Job Ready Programs for Accor QLD, with Shane Edwards performing the role at Indigenous Champion for the entire Accor Queensland hotel network.
Edwards said the plaque signifies to staff and guests the importance of belonging to the region.
“A plaque might seem a simple thing, but to Accor it represents our true commitment and an acknowledgment of our adopted Aboriginal elders. It’s our formal show of respect in terms of reconciliation and the Yindji nation,” he said.
Accor Hotels and Resorts first released their Reconciliation Action Plan in North Queensland in March 2011.
As the Indigenous Champion for Accor Hotels in Queensland, Edwards provides a critical link between the hospitality business and the people of Cairns, remote Cape York and the Torres Strait.
“Hotels are great catalyst to build diversity and acceptance, and it’s my belief that tourism – especially the hotel industry – has and will continue to play a major role in the Reconciliation process,” he said.