An indigenous group in remote north-western Australia is the first to start charging tourists who want to visit their traditional lands, local media reported on Sunday.
The Wunumbal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation, traditional owners of remote lands north of Broome on the north-western coast, has started charging cruise ship passengers to visit the area's spectacular waterfalls and rock art caves.
Ship and boat operators bringing in tourists this season are being charged A$200 ($158) per berth, but by 2019 this will rise to A$152 for every individual visitor.
The Wunambal traditional owners told the national broadcaster ABC that the funds would be used to help get Indigenous Australians out to the remote sites so they can greet tourists, pick up rubbish and protect cultural sites.
"It's mainly to support our rangers and help the traditional owners go out on country to protect areas ... and to welcome tourists too, so they can see the rangers talk about the country and the area they're in," the corporation's chair Catherine Goonack told the ABC.
The move follows a huge increase in cruise ship tourism in the spectacular isolated coastal area which is now worth A$15mn a year.
The tourism boom has seen rock art damaged and rubbish left on pristine beaches. As a result traditional owners have banned tourists from many special and sacred sites.
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