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Indigenous Tourism Cases from Australia and New Zealand

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Annals of Leisure Research[pic 2]

ISSN: 1174-5398 (Print) 2159-6816 (Online) Journal homepage:

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Indigenous tourism: Cases from Australia and New Zealand

Jared Mackley-Crump

To cite this article: Jared Mackley-Crump (2018): Indigenous tourism: Cases from Australia and New Zealand, Annals of Leisure Research, DOI: 10.1080/11745398.2018.1534599

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Indigenous tourism: Cases from Australia and New Zealand, edited by M. Whitford,

L. Ruhanen and A. Carr, Oxford, Goodfellow, 2017, 250 pp., GBP£85.00 (hardback), ISBN: 978-1-911396-40-6, GBP£34.99 (e-book), ISBN: 978-1-933396-41-3

This collection marks the rst time a book about indigenous tourism has been released that focuses specically on the Australasian context. It has been constructed in a clear, logical manner, and employs language and ideas that make it accessible to a broad audience, from undergraduate students through to industry practitioners.

It is essentially a book of two halves, each preceded with an overview of the specic dom-

estic context, with the pivot, middle chapter acting as a bridge between the two. This chapter, by Freya Higgins-Desboilles, Sharleen Howison and Zexuan Sun, adopts the position that, while clearly important, the narrow focus on tourism as industry and as economic contributor to a nation’s GDP has been destructive, particularly where indigenous tourism is concerned. As they argue, ‘we are beginning to forget the powerful capacities of tourism to connect people and foster creative dialogue’ (127). In this context, the authors provide a helpful call for the (re)centring of indigenous values in tourism conversations; of valuing collective respon- sibility over individual prot, ecological responsibility alongside economic concerns, and indi- genous control and agency in the creation of tourism products. These themes prevail in subtle and not-so-subtle ways throughout many of the book’s chapters.

Admittedly I must declare my position as a New Zealander, so perhaps there is an element of bias present, but the most striking overall impression that I took away from this collection is the vastly dierent pictures of indigenous tourism that are painted in these two close but otherwise remarkably dissimilar contexts. This is a result, as many chapters hint at, of diering political realities, social values, and progress towards reconciliation of colonial injustices. It is also, no doubt, a reality of somewhat dierent geographies – Australia being a vast continent; Aotearoa/New Zealand a relatively condensed and more easily-traversed land mass – and simple tourism industry dynamics. The volume makes apparent that key tourism stakeholders

in New Zealand have been more successful in selling its indigeneity, and suggests Australia has some structural issues to address.

Nowhere is this stark dierence made clearer than in the overview chapters. In the Austra-

lian context, as Lisa Ruhanen and Michelle Whitford explain (12–15), both domestic and inter- national demand for indigenous tourism fell in the rst decade of the twenty-rst century, with tourists having a low awareness overall and low demand being driven by a perception that indigenous cultural experiences were too far outside visitor expectations of relaxation and indulgence. The result is a number of barriers that impact the sustainability of indigenous enterprises, and the case studies certainly provide food for thought on this point. By contrast, Anna Carr’s overview of the New Zealand context presents a far more hopeful picture, where Māori tourism has long been a key strand of the nation’s oerings, and continues to benet

from over two decades of Treaty settlements, which have put signicant nancial resources

into the hands of Māori-controlled corporations.1 Admittedly, the country’s ongoing visitor boom – now causing widespread discussion about the limits of tourism – has also played a part here.

While this collection is certainly a welcome addition to the tourism literature, especially in its focus on the Australia/Aotearoa indigenous context, as a whole, this book could have been more satisfying. Many chapters provide a lot of background context, especially in the Australian



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