Searching for the authentic desert experience
23 October 2006
Charles Darwin University lecturers and researchers will
play a major role in the Desert Knowledge symposium in Alice
Springs next month.
Research findings in
tourism will be delivered by Associate Professor Pascal
Tremblay and researchers Andrew Taylor, Dean Carson and Alicia
PhD research student Damien Jacobsen
will also take part in a forum
Indigenous Research Fellow Josie
Douglas will discuss the harvesting of bush food as a
business, while lecturer Dr Naomi Rea, from the School of
Indigenous Knowledge Systems, will explain Aboriginal
participation in resource development and the recognition of
their rights and cultural values.
symposium, hosted by the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research
Centre will bring together speakers from around the world,
including the US, Namibia, United Arab Emirates, South Africa
and Niger to explore the work being done in desert communities
to develop sustainable economies.
important element of the symposium will be the tourism
potential of desert communities, with CDU research being
presented to help build a bigger picture of the opportunities,
especially in national parks and Indigenous
Associate Professor Tremblay’s
paper will deal with the role played by protected areas such
as national parks in developing desert tourism
Andrew Taylor and Dean Carson
will explore various aspects of the impact of the 4WD motoring
market on desert tourism, an increasingly important issue as
Baby Boomers retire and head out into the desert for its
unique landscape and cultural
Alicia Boyle will deliver her
paper on education entitled Leaving a Legacy in the
Associate Professor Tremblay says
there has been a growth in demand from tourists for the
‘authentic’ Indigenous experience as the 4WD drive-yourself
market becomes more adventurous.
tourists will not say that their main reason for going into
the desert is to see Indigenous culture, but they do expect it
to be there,” he says.
As a result, there
was now considerable research being done in the best way to
set up entrepreneurial enterprises involving cultural
awareness in Indigenous communities.
it can be very tricky to achieve,” he says. “It is quite a
complex task to set up a tourism venture that offers an
authentic experience, yet at the same time offer tourists the
levels of comfort, convenience and facilities that they
“But it is necessary not to raise
false hopes among tourists as to what they are likely to
experience, but it would also be irresponsible not to attempt
to set up these ventures because it was thought they were too
The Desert Knowledge symposium
will run from November 1-3.