Two fully serviced commercial campgrounds built and operated by remote Aboriginal communities have opened at Imintji and Mimbi in the Kimberley region.
Tourism Minister Paul Papalia has officially opened the Imintji Campground, which is on the Gibb River Road, about a two and a half hours drive from Derby; and the Jarlarloo Riwi Mimbi Campground, about an hour's drive east of Fitzroy Crossing.
The Imintji Campground project won the Public Engagement and Community Planning category at the Planning Institute of Australia's 2017 National Awards for Planning Excellence.
Both the Imintji and Mimbi projects are part of Tourism WA's Camping with Custodians initiative which gives visitors to Western Australia the opportunity to camp on Aboriginal land and to meet and mix with local Aboriginal people, knowing that the proceeds of their visit will stay in the community.
Mr Papalia said the award-winning initiative gave communities the opportunity to create jobs and income as well as showcase their culture and country to people from around the world.
Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia:
"Camping with Custodians will deliver a network of commercial campgrounds along key touring routes in the Kimberley and Pilbara but, more importantly, they will provide communities with a means to generate income and employment with an opportunity to showcase their traditional culture.
"Visitors to the campgrounds will be able to experience a range of additional options such as guided tours, art sales and or cultural performances, which research consistently tells us visitors want to take part in but often can't easily access.
"Two other sites at Violet Valley in the Kimberley and Peedamulla Station near Onslow are currently being developed and Tourism WA has begun investigations into other potential sites in the north of the State."
Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"Camping with Custodians puts Aboriginal employment at the heart of Royalties for Regions investment. Tourism is vital to regional economies, bringing significant social and economic benefits to Aboriginal communities in remote areas of WA.
"The funding has been used to develop the campground with designated camping bays, an ablution block, a BBQ shelter and potable water supply, with the money raised through the campgrounds going back into the community."