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Monday, May 10, 2021

New circular tourism set to Go

Dr Phoebe Everingham and Newcastle Greens candidate Sinead Francis-Coan are fast becoming the city’s off the beaten track tour taste-testers.

Combining their extensive overseas travel experience with insider local knowledge , the pair is hoping to promote sustainable, ethical tourism through their small business ‘Go Circular Tourism Newcastle’. 

The niche tourism business will focus on promoting groups within Newcastle that are environmentally friendly and promote sustainable, ethical practices.”

”It’s a shout-out to the people we see doing tourism in a positive way,” Ms Francis-Coan said.

“Tourism is an educational and transformational opportunity and we’d like to support local groups who are promoting that.

The pair’s first review submission was for Muurrung Marai, an Indigenous-led tour taking in some of the city’s significant Aboriginal sites.

Following a 90-minute tour, the educated duo say they hoped all future excursions were as fulfilling.

“The tour itself is filled with stories of our local natural environment and how it has changed since colonisation,” Ms Francis-Coan said.

“Right from the beginning Amos invites those who have joined him to share their own stories of culture, language and history adding to the richness of the discussion.”

Tour organiser Wiradjuri and Worimi man Amos uses the tours to share some of the prominent Aboriginal historical figures in the region as well as the history of how the Awabakal language was documented. 

“Overall the tour should leave you with a sense of history, reflection, intercultural understanding and respect that you can incorporate into your daily life,” Ms Francis-Coan said. 

“Muurrung Marai is highly recommended for anyone looking to reconnect with themselves, with local history, with nature, or simply a good day out.”

Muurung Marai not only marks the start of Go Circular Tourism Newcastle, but also a sharing of secrets says Ms Francis-Coan.

With Irish heritage and a passion for Irish music, the former Newcastle Performing Arts student admits the best locations within the Emerald Isle are the lesser known ones, the places the locals go.

“It’s never the gig that is advertised that is the good one,” she said.

“It’s the one that the good musicians tell you they’re going to when they’ve finished their set.”

Ms Everingham, who is passionate about promoting smaller scale, authentic tourism events, says major events rarely have a beneficial flow-on effect for local residents. 

“When I see the consultation of the Supercars being extended the first thing I see there is who are the people they’re talking to. The answer is The City of Newcastle and Destination NSW. Where are the local people and the residents in that consultation?,” she said.

“Our role is to try to be that voice and level the playing field a little bit and advocate for our local area.

“This is our way of having an input in what local tourism is and putting our hand up for the ones we’d like to be at the front.”

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