The World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) have agreed to develop plans and programs to give practical expression, through tourism, to Indigenous rights. Guiding principles will be taken from the relevant portions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
This agreement follows their common focus in fostering tourism developments consistent with the principles of the Larrakia Declaration that were promulgated on March 30, 2012 at the Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference 2012 in Darwin, Australia. The Larrakia Declaration has also been supported by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
In the history of tourism development, human rights violations have been a frequently raised issue, denounced by human rights advocacy groups, trade unions and other civil society organizations. Indigenous peoples have often been the victims of such human rights violations.
Martin Craigs, PATA CEO, said: “PATA sees the opportunity to redress this past history by taking a proactive approach together with WINTA to champion the implementation of the Larrakia Declaration. With the respectful engagement of Indigenous peoples as envisioned by the Larrakia Declaration, tourism can be a positive vehicle for promoting the rights of Indigenous peoples.”
Ben Sherman, WINTA Leadership Council, observed: “The establishment and operation of WINTA in 2012 following many years of dialogue among Indigenous peoples already engaged with tourism, marks the coming of age of Indigenous tourism and its capacity to work alongside like-minded international tourism organizations.”
Sherman continued: “The choice and decision-making of whether and how to engage with tourism must always lie with the affected Indigenous peoples. It is important that they be afforded the opportunity to participate on the basis of free, prior and informed consent as envisioned by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”