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Kakadu not properly promoted, report says

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 24 February 2005

A damning report on tourism in Kakadu National Park has found there is often misleading information about the experiences available to visitors.

The full report was released in Darwin this morning.

The report found that Aboriginal culture in the world heritage area is not being promoted and the park has a negative image among Northern Territory residents.

But Graeme Lewis from Tourism Top End says the report's recommendation to promote Aboriginal culture will reverse a significant decline in tourism numbers.

"The culture aspects of Kakadu are as beautiful as the natural beauty," he said.

He says he also supports a recommendation to investigate opening up new areas of the park to tourists.

"It is a huge park and so much of it has been locked up either totally or progressively on a time basis, some of the locking up on a time basis is about the weather and we can't control that but there are a lot of sites that are just locked up because tourists are not welcome."

Russell Cubillo from the Kakadu Board of Management says the suggestion to look at opening new areas of the park will be considered.

"Traditional owners will set that time for when new areas will be opened and if they will be opened," Mr Cubillo said.

He says expanding activities in existing areas is the preferred option.

"The areas already available now to our visitors is felt I think enough by traditional owners and I think we need to expand on their time and the quality of time when they go to these areas within the park that are already open to the public," he said.

The Government hopes the new tourism vision will see visitor numbers lift by up to 50 per cent.

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