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 October 27, 2011
The First Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference (PAITC)

 The first Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference (PAITC) will take place on 28-30 March 2012 in Darwin, Australia. The objective is to enhance and protect the increasingly important tourism role of Asia Pacific's indigenous people such as hill tribes, forest dwellers, sea faring groups and Aboriginal people.

This inaugural event is a joint initiative of the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), Tourism NT and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), with the support of the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

ATEC Chairman, John King OAM, said there were around 370 million indigenous people spread across 70 countries worldwide.

"As the world becomes increasingly homogenous, indigenous cultures face a challenge in maintaining their cultural heritage," Mr King said.

"Tourism provides a strong driver to restore, protect and promote indigenous culture and it needs to be promoted in a viable and sustainable way."

PAITC aims to:

- establish the role of tourism in indigenous advancement and cultural preservation;
- celebrate indigenous tourism experiences as a vehicle for cultural understanding;
- learn from successful case studies;
- understand and overcome impediments to indigenous tourism development; and
- take indigenous tourism from the margins to the mainstream of tourism.

Interim PATA CEO, Bill Calderwood said the event was expected to attract hundreds of delegates including indigenous peoples groups, government agencies, associations, operators, NGOs, multi-lateral agencies, universities, research bodies and media.

"The conference is a timely opportunity for the many hundreds of indigenous groups across Asia Pacific to benefit from tourism in a way that respects their culture and heritage," Mr Calderwood said.

The organizers plan to create and adopt the Darwin Declaration on Indigenous Tourism which will establish operational principles for the responsible development of indigenous tourism into the future.

PAITC is working closely with the Northern Territory's Larrakia people in planning the conference. Larrakia artist Yvonne Odegaard created the artwork and logo design for the Conference.

Pre and post conference tours organized by Territory Discoveries will allow delegates to experience indigenous tourism activities in the Northern Territory.