Australia and its indigenous people received good news this week when it was confirmed tourists will be prohibited from climbing the Northern Territory’s sacred Ayres Rock within two years time.

The decision to stop people from climbing Uluru was made during a board meeting of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta national park and will be implemented on the 34th anniversary of Uluru and Kata Tjuta’s return to the Anangu people – 26 October 2019.

In an online statement, officials said the agreement is in line with the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Management Plan 2010-2020, which outlined the activity would cease once climbs had reached less than 20 percent and that travellers were visiting the attraction for cultural and natural experiences.

Image: Grant McIver/Unsplash

Image: Grant McIver/Unsplash

“These criteria have now been met… [and it was] unanimously decided to close it.”

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park statement

Uluru Traditional Owner and Board Chairman, Sammy Wilson, said ceasing the activity isn’t about turning tourists away, but rather respecting the sacred site.

“It’s about protection through combining two systems, the government and Anangu,” Mr Wilson said.

“This decision is for both Anangu and non-Anangu together to feel proud about; to realise, of course it’s the right thing to close it.

“The land has law and culture. We welcome tourists here. Closing the climb is not something to feel upset about but a cause for celebration.”

“Let’s come together; let’s close it together.”

Sammy Wilson, Uluru Traditional Owner & Board Chairman

Uluru_KarryOn

Although climbing the rock will be banned, Wilson said there’ll still be plenty of opportunities for tourists to visit the site and gain cultural experiences. These include learning from the Anangu about their culture, which is already considered a “memorable experience” by current visitors.

“We’re looking forward to a future where we can all work together to protect culture and country as we should do, while continuing to provide visitors with fulfilling experiences based on the parks unique cultural and natural attractions.”

Sally Barnes, Director of National Parks 

“This is a significant moment for all Australians and marks a new chapter in our history.

“It clearly says we put country and culture first when managing this place for all Australians and our visitors from around the world.”

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What are your thoughts on the decision?