Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park becomes latest victim of COVID-19

An Indigenous cultural tourism venue in Cairns has been forced to close its doors due to the ongoing travel restrictions caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park hosted cocktail functions, conferences, gala dinners, events, incentives, weddings, and meetings while educating international delegates and tourists about Australia’s Indigenous people.

The venue temporarily closed in March due to the “formal travel constraints applied in destinations around the world”, before announcing on its website earlier this month it would not be reopening.

“It is with great regret we announce that the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park (Tjapukai) will not be reopening,” the notice said.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen said the industry’s thoughts were with the staff of Tjapukai following news that it would close.

“This will be a really difficult time for the staff both past and present who have made an enormous contribution to showcasing Indigenous tourism over the past 33 years,” he said.

“The closure of Tjapukai is a great loss to the tourism industry, as it is a foundation product that set the benchmark for Indigenous cultural tourism experiences in Australia.”

TTNQ chair Ken Chapman said it was a tough decision, but an understandable one with the uncertainty around international and domestic tourism.

“This demonstrates just how hard it is for businesses that are successful in the international market to continue trading,” he said.

“It also reinforces why tourism businesses need ongoing support to tackle the challenges ahead.”

Featured image source: Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park