Cultural tourism centre Tjapukai closes its doors

Uncertainty around international travel contributed to the closure.

After 33 years of celebrating and sharing Aboriginal culture with visitors, Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park in Tropical North Queensland has permanently closed its doors.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism venue was forced to close temporarily from 23 March 2020.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) chair and former Tjapukai director Ken Chapman confirmed the centre would not reopen, due to uncertainty around international and domestic tourism.

“This demonstrates just how hard it is for businesses that are successful in the international market to continue trading,” he said.

“It also reinforces why tourism businesses need ongoing support to tackle the challenges ahead.”

According to its website, Tjapukai was the largest Indigenous employer of any tourism enterprise in Australia, with more than two-thirds of the team Indigenous.

TTNQ CEO Mark Olsen said the industry’s thoughts were with the staff of Tjapukai.

“This will be a really difficult time for the staff both past and present who have made an enormous contribution to showcasing Indigenous tourism over the past 33 years,” he said.

“The closure of Tjapukai is a great loss to the tourism industry as it is a foundation product that set the benchmark for Indigenous cultural tourism experiences in Australia.”

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