After it’s controversial permanent closure to climbers from 26th October last year, there are now calls to re-open the Uluru climb to help rebuild tourism in the NT.
ABC News spoke with Dave Batic who is Chairman of the Alice Springs Major Business Group and general manager of Alice Springs airport.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and it’s associated impact on tourism, Mr Batic has proposed opening the climb for two-to-three years in partnership with the traditional owners as a windfall for Territory tourism.
"The concept there is that the traditional owners would provide tours for paying climbers and have a safety harness system in place just like the Sydney Harbour Bridge," he said.
The idea to move to a ‘managed and guided’ climb similar to the Bridge Climb gathered some momentum prior to the closure last year but wasn't adopted.
Some would argue that this approach has a number of benefits over a total closure:
- It ensures the safety of climbers
- It provides an opportunity for a more in depth learning experience
- It provides employment and income for the traditional owners as guides and managers
However, traditional owner and former Chairman of the Uluru Kata-Tjuta Board of Management, Sammy Wilson disagrees.
"No. Enough is enough. The word is no," said Mr Wilson, who remains on the board.
"We don't want to open a can of worms or put more logs on the fire.”
Traditional owners say closing the climb presents an opportunity for visitors to experience the spectacular country around Uluru and learn about the Anangu people and culture.
SOURCE: ABC News
I've climbed the rock and walked around the base several times over the years and there is no way I would leave a visit to the rock off my NT road trip itinerary if time permits.
I respect the traditional owners perspective but at the same time can see the benefits of a managed climb and would be happy to pay for the experience, as would many others.
But climb or no climb, it’s a magical place and I’m looking forward to getting back there again soon.
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