Nothing like ducking next door for a quick chat!
Kakadu got to know some of our international neighbours a bit better last month, with a visit from a delegation of Chinese advisers. The China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development is a not-for-profit group that advises the Chinese government on environmental issues. They’re particularly interested in the way development should be handled in western China, where there are some really sensitive environments and a number of Indigenous groups who have a stake in managing the land. So Kakadu was a great place for look for advice!
The council members spent a few days at Kakadu, speaking to traditional owners and learning how they earn a living and take part in running the park. The group cruised Yellow Water and the flooded Magela Creek, before taking a walk around the rock art at Nourlangie. They were blown away by the landscape and culture, and the enthusiasm and generosity of the traditional owners.
This is the latest visit from our Chinese neighbours, in what we hope will continue to be a close relationship. Chinese visitors are an increasingly important market for Australia – they are set to be Australia’s number one source of visitors in coming years. The importance of China hasn’t been lost on the Territorian tourism industry. The Ayers Rock Resort at Uluru has just launched a Chinese language version of their website, and welcomed visitors on the first direct charter flight from China in January.
At Kakadu we have a long association with China – in fact the Chinese are alongside the Dutch, Malays and Portugese in claiming to be the first non-Aboriginal explorers of Australia’s north coast. China is a key environmental partner for us – birds such as the glossy ibis migrate between Kakadu and China each year and we cooperate with the Chinese to protect them.
We’re developing great tourism links too – in 2010 Kakadu was visited by the Chinese Vice President and a major contingent of international journalists. They had a fantastic time touring Kakadu and learning more about Aboriginal culture, bringing a tremendous amount of positive global attention to the park.
We had a great time meeting the China Council delegates and look forward to forging even closer ties as time goes on.
For Chinese language information about Kakadu visit http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/publications/kakadu/pubs/holiday_planner_chi.pdf
Find out more about the Ayers Rock Resort’s charter flights to Uluru - http://www.voyages.com.au/media/351/
Mali, Parks Australia