Djawa Burarrwanga - EDITED

Leading Australian tourism and entertainment group AHL has joined the quest to create thriving Indigenous-owned tourism businesses across Arnhem Land, becoming a supporting partner of the Yolngu Cultural Tourism Masterplan.

As the group behind brands including Event Cinemas, Rydges Hotels & Resorts and QT Hotels, AHL has become the exclusive hospitality partner to the Masterplan, helping to drive its long-term vision for economic independence among Yolngu communities.

AHL joins 12 other Australian organisations in supporting the plan, launched last year as a means of opening Arnhem Land to tourism while creating employment for Yolngu people. Its key is the creation of Indigenous-owned businesses, allowing Yolngu to determine their own future while drawing on the expertise of leading Australian corporations and tourism entities.

The plan is being implemented by Lirrwi Tourism, whose Chairman Djawa ‘Timmy’ Burarrwanga said AHL had provided a generous boost to Arnhem Land’s tourism future.

“The involvement of AHL is a huge endorsement for our plan and allows us to learn from one of the most important hospitality groups in Australia,” Burarrwanga said. “AHL’s support will help ensure the success of our businesses and allow us to share our culture and tradition with visitors from around Australia and across the world.”

AHL Group Managing Director, David Seargeant, said: “As a partner of the Yolngu Cultural Tourism Masterplan, this is an exciting opportunity for AHL to give back as a company. Indigenous tourism is a large part of what makes Australia such a distinctive destination and we are eager to support the Yolngu people in sharing their extraordinary and unique cultural experiences with the world.”

The Masterplan’s Manager, former Tourism Australia Managing Director John Morse, said under the agreement AHL would provide financial support, staff support, accommodation and meetings facilities for Lirrwi Tourism. It would become Lirriw’s preferred accommodation supplier through its Rydges Hotels and Resorts and assist with joint promotional opportunities.

“The Yolngu Cultural Tourism Masterplan is the first of its kind in Australia and will create dozens of Indigenous-owned tourism businesses across Arnhem Land over the next decade,” Mr Morse said. “AHL’s generous involvement will help Yolngu communities to foster high-quality, low-impact tourism that will create economic prosperity and allow families to stay connected to their country and culture.”