Following a unanimous decision by traditional owners and park managers of the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, climbing Uluru will no longer be permitted as of 26 October 2019.
The closure will come exactly 34 years after the government officially returned the site to its traditional owners.
The iconic landmark in Australia’s Northern Territory is a culturally significant and deeply sacred site to the local indigenous people, and the traditional owners have long requested that visitors do not climb it.
“Whitefellas see the land in economic terms, where Anangu see it as tjukurpa [cultural law] – if the tjukurpa is gone, so is everything, and we want to hold on to our culture because if we don’t, it could disappear completely,” Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park board chair and traditional owner Sammy Wilson says.
There have also been a number of injuries and deaths as a result of climbing Uluru.
Members of the tourism industry, such as World Expeditions, have welcomed the decision.
“Ceasing the climbing of Uluru aligns with our core responsible travel value of consulting with local communities about what’s best for the host community and educating travellers accordingly,” World Expeditions responsible travel manager Donna Lawrence says.
Specialising in small group active holidays, the company prides itself on a long history of successful collaboration with local indigenous communities.
Once such example is their partnership with the Arrente people in Central Australia on the Larapinta Trail, which has led to the development of a world class walk through some of Australia’s most remote and spectacular landscapes.