Who is Welcome to Country?
Welcome to Country is a for purpose organisation. Our vision is to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to create economic and well-being outcomes.
What does “for purpose” mean?
Welcome to Country was created with a strong objective and vision. Our purpose is to enable prosperity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through tourism. Whilst being financially responsible and sustainable is a key objective (and important for our ongoing viability), making profits is not our reason for existing as an organisation.
What is a Welcome to Country?
In simple terms it’s a ceremony that is conducted when one group is seeking to enter or meet with another group. The ceremony traditionally may have lasted for many days as discussions are held about the purpose of the visit and appropriate ceremonies are performed. What is significant about this, is the act of gaining permission and agreeing to be respectful whilst you are visiting someone’s country.
Today, Welcome to Country ceremonies have evolved as a way of acknowledging and paying respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait owners of the land.
What is the Welcome to Country marketplace?
Welcome to Country is your guide to exceptional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences. From epic walks on country, sharing stories and food over a camp fire, to crafting jewellery, you will find an experience that connects you to the world’s oldest living culture.
And every experience you book contributes to real social outcomes for families and their communities.
Who is in the Welcome to Country Team?
Welcome to Country is an Aboriginal led business. Our team are a diverse group of people with extensive experience in tourism, marketing, operations and IT. We are highly motivated individuals who want to make a difference.
Is Welcome to Country a government organisation?
No – Welcome to Country is a not for profit company limited by guarantee. We receive private support from individuals who are passionate about achieving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Is Welcome to Country a not for profit?
Yes – Welcome to Country is a not for profit. We are a registered not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. Any profits we make go back into the delivery of the marketplace and initiatives to grow the experience sector.
Why book with Welcome to Country?
Booking your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience through Welcome to Country helps to develop the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism industry and improve the lives of communities, families and individuals.
Better yet - we have rigorous quality assurance standards so you can book with confidence.
How does my booking support local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?
Every booking made with us supports local communities. This is achieved in a number of ways:
• All of our listed businesses are either Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander owned or the business employs Aboriginal staff to deliver the experience. This ensures your purchase provides a direct return to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
• We utilise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses in our supply chain. To date this has included legal consultations, marketing, creative and advertising. We are continually looking for new opportunities to extend our support to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business sector.
• Over 60% of the staff employed at Welcome to Country are Aboriginal.
• Any profits we make as a business will be directed into initiatives to grow the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience sector.
When will you have experiences in my city?
Australia has more than 260 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations – all with their own unique story to tell. We will be helping existing tourism businesses and Aboriginal entrepreneurs all across Australia to connect with travellers on our marketplace. We have launched our beta marketplace featuring experiences in the Northern Territory and will be rolling out experiences Nationally throughout 2020.
Please visit our website often as new experiences will be listed every week. You can also join our community for regular updates.
Can I provide an experience?
All our experiences must be either Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned and/or led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Experiences must also meet our quality standards.
To find our more information, please click here and to register your interest.
How do I learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism and culture?
There are more than 260 different Aboriginal nations in Australia. And every nation has their own story to tell. In order to learn more about our culture we highly recommended trying one of our experiences.
How do I make a booking?
The process is quite simple. You can either choose a destination you are planning to travel to, then search the type of experience you would like to have at that destination. Or search for the type of experiences you would like to have and then figure out how to get there.
Once you have selected your experience, following the booking instructions to complete. Please pay close attention to the terms and conditions of the experience. The Welcome to Country Terms and Conditions together with the operators Terms and Conditions will apply to your booking. Once you have completed your booking, the Terms and Conditions come into immediate effect. Please ensure all details are correct prior to making purchase.
What payment methods do you accept?
We accept all major payment types – Visa, MasterCard and AMEX. Additional payment methods are coming soon.
How long does it take to confirm my booking?
When you complete the payment process with Welcome to Country your booking confirmation is instant. For next day/same day bookings it's best to contact your experience provider directly after the booking is made. You will receive an email with details on how to contact your Operator.
I am travelling with a large group. How do I make a booking for many people?
One of the great things about Welcome to Country is that our experience providers have direct control over their calendars. Meaning that the availability and inventory of each experiences is up to date.
We make it easy for groups to make bookings using a feature in the booking flow. If your booking number exceeds the maximum allowed for the experience, please contact us directly and we will see what we can do.
What happens if I need to change my booking?
Booking changes will be different depending on the experience. You can find the Terms and Conditions on the experience providers page on our marketplace.
Where do I find my booking confirmation?
Once you have booked with Welcome to Country, you will receive two emails. The booking confirmation email contains the key details of your experience booking and next steps. You will also receive a separate email which is your receipt. If you do not receive either of these emails, please check your junk mail or contact us using the support widget on the home page.
When will I find out more details about my booking?
You will receive your booking confirmation immediately. Your experience provider will then be in touch shortly after and provide any additional information you need to know. We will also keep you up to date with reminders closer to your experience date.
What happens if I need to cancel?
Cancellations are managed in accordance with our Terms and Conditions together with the Operators specific Terms and Conditions. You can view our booking Terms and Conditions here.
Can I get a refund?
Refunds are subject to our Terms and Conditions together with the Operators Terms and Conditions. You can view our booking Terms and Conditions here.
What is an Experience?
An experience is an immersive activity of any description. A walk on country, a day with an artist, cooking with an Aboriginal chef. Welcome to Country connects you with experiences that meet our quality standards.
How do I know what is included in my experience?
The inclusions for each experience can be seen on the experience page. If you forget the inclusions you can always visit our website later or contact the experience provider directly.
Does my experience include transportation?
Some experiences do include transportation and this is listed in the inclusions section of the experience page. It is important that you check the inclusions carefully as some of our experiences are in remote areas.
You are required to make your own way to the departure point of the experience.
How do I know what to bring on my experience?
The key details for your experience can be found on the experience page. This shows all the key elements, time and location of the experience and all the inclusions.
How do I know what to wear on my experience?
Every culture is different and will have different dress standards. Where there are special requirements these will be listed on the experience page and communicated to you via email.
When visiting Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities please see the visiting communities page for more information.
How do I know where to meet with my experience provider?
The meeting place for you and the experience provider is listed in your confirmation email and on the experience page. If in doubt, we recommend contacting the experience provider to confirm the exact location of the meeting place.
Do I need to bring lunch?
Inclusions for each experience differs. Please check the experience page on our marketplace for a list of inclusions or contact your experience provider to check the food and drink inclusions before you embark on your journey.
What does Aboriginal Owned and Guided Mean?
Aboriginal owned and guided means that the experience you are booking is both owned and guided by Aboriginal people.
What is a Respecting Our Culture (ROC) Certified Business?
ROC certified experience providers have been certified by Eco Tourism Australia (ETA). According to ETA experience providers must be committed to protecting cultural authenticity and integrity, developing sound business practices, environmental protection and acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples spiritual connection to the land and water.
What is an Eco-Certified Tourism Business?
Experience providers that are Eco-Certified meet the standards and have received certification from the ETA. Eco Certified experience providers are backed by a strong, well managed commitment to sustainable practices and provide high quality nature-based experiences.