Media release – May 30, 2007

A new travel initiative to be launched by Tourism Minister Paul Henderson this evening will set the Northern Territory apart on the world stage for lovers of Aboriginal Art.

Mr Henderson said Aboriginal Art Trails aimed to attract more visitors to the Northern Territory by developing partnerships between Aboriginal artists and tour operators throughout Arnhem Land and Alice Springs.

The Art Trails will take art-lovers to meet artists and visit Aboriginal art centres to learn more about Aboriginal art and culture, and add to their art collections by purchasing directly from communities, Mr Henderson said.

The Northern Territory is home to about 5000 Aboriginal visual artists “ about 70 per cent of all Indigenous visual artists in Australia, giving us a significant competitive edge in targeting overseas travellers for these niche tours.

Depending on the package they choose, the visitors will be able to travel by 4WD, private plane, or even on a cruise ship.

Six tour operators are involved in the project “ three in the Top End and three in Central Australia “ in partnership with six arts centres in Arnhem Land and 12 in the Centre.

The Government has committed $160,000 to the initiative.

The tours will be permanently promoted on the Territory Government’s international tourism website,

The NT Government’s Indigenous Tourism Strategy recognises Aboriginal culture as a vitally important asset in the future development of our tourism industry, said Mr Henderson.

The Aboriginal Art Tours will not only provide a new market for the Territory’s Indigenous tourism industry, it will also deliver economic benefits directly back to the artists and their communities.

Media contact: Rebecca Cass on 0401 110 389