Tour OperatorsLast-chance visitors keen to clock the rock before park’s closure.

One of Australia’s tourism icons under siege

By
|
Uluru 1907122
Intrepid Travel says Uluru is a sacred site “and should be treated as such”. Photo Credit: Intrepid Travel.

The Anangu traditional owners have repeatedly expressed a desire for people to show respect to the rock's cultural value by not climbing it.

Three months ahead of the closure, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park's in Australia’s Northern Territory, tourists are flocking to the site – previously known as Ayers Rock - many camping illegally and causing over-crowding problems.

The Anangu traditional owners have repeatedly expressed a desire for people to show respect to the rock's cultural value by not climbing it.

Stephen Schwer, chief executive of Tourism Central Australia, said visitors needed to plan their trips in advance. He said illegal camping was putting the environment at risk, as tourists were not accessing appropriate facilities and instead dumping their rubbish in inappropriate places.

Intrepid Travel was one of the first tour companies to ban climbing the rock back in 1998.

Brett Mitchell, Intrepid Travel APAC managing director, said, “We were incredibly disappointed to see the line of people hiking up Uluru. We ceased climbing back in 1998, in respect to the traditional owners.

“Our team on the ground says there has been an influx of tourists hiking the rock, while we have also had more enquiries around climbing it.

Uluru 190712

“We educate travellers about why they shouldn’t climb but we cannot stop them. We communicate our respect for the site wherever we can – from trip notes to sales to our people on the ground.

“Further to that, this year we stopped serving alcohol within Uluru Kata-Tjuta national park. Alcohol is not allowed in the national park with the exemption of the car park where tourists can drink.

“As a responsible travel company, we believe that tourism should benefit both local communities as well as the travellers visiting them. Uluru is a sacred site and it should be treated as such.”


JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI