Mossman Gorge Centre re-opens after COVID shutdown
Strict protocols in place to protect local Indigenous community.
The Mossman Gorge Centre has re-opened to visitors after a four-month shutdown to protect the health of the far north Queensland attraction’s nearby Indigenous community.
The Indigenous eco-tourism development, about 80km north of Cairns, is a gateway to the Mossman Gorge section of the Daintree National Park.
The decision to close the centre in March was made in consultation with the Mossman Gorge community, represented by Bamanga Bubu Ngadimunku Aboriginal Corporation, to protect the health of residents and staff at the centre from COVID-19.
COVID-safe protocols have been introduced to protect the local community including a requirement for visitors to use a shuttle bus to access the centre.
Screens at the centre will display a message from local Elder Roy Gibson welcoming visitors and emphasising the ongoing concerns of the community.
“We want to share our culture and country with you, but we are afraid of this virus,” Mr Gibson says in the message.
“We have many people who are vulnerable, especially our Elders.
“Please respect our wishes and do not walk through the community to the Gorge. Please use the shuttle bus for your and our safety.”
Mr Gibson is the visionary behind the Mossman Gorge Centre, the associated training school and the Dreamtime Gorge Walk, which gives visitors a deeper understanding of the Daintree Rainforest.
The Dreamtime Walks are still on hold temporarily but “Welcome to Country” and a cultural demonstration are held daily.
The Mossman Gorge Centre is one of the Indigenous tourism offerings which will benefit from the State Government’s decision to extend the Year of Indigenous Tourism into next year.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was common sense to continue the promotion because of the impacts of the coronavirus on the tourism industry this year.
“Extending this state-wide promotion will play a vital role in our economic recovery,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Now, more and more tourists want a cultural experience when they travel and Queensland is perfectly placed to capitalise on that demand.”
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the new Indigenous Tourism Sector Analysis report showed more than 420,000 visitors experienced an Indigenous tourism activity every year.
“It proves just how important Indigenous tourism will be to the future of the whole industry in Queensland,” Ms Jones said.
“Cultural experiences will be integral to a resurgence in international tourism as the recovery kicks in following COVID-19.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences are a fast-growing part of Queensland’s tourism industry, with this study showing the number of visitors participating in Indigenous tourism activities is growing at an average of 11.2% per year.”
The Mossman Gorge Centre showcases the art and craft of the local Kuku Yalanji community in an on-site art gallery and retail store.
It also includes the Mayi Cafe which serves a menu of locally sourced produce with a focus on native ingredients.