Uluru faces an influx of tourists after imposing ban on climbing

Uluru rock, also called Ayers Rock, is one of the sacred sites of Australia. The Anangu tribe, a part of the Aboriginals, are the original owners of that land. The giant red monolith has been one of Australia’s most iconic tourist destinations for decades.

Unfortunately, it has been one of the victims of overtourism. There has always been a great rush of tourists climbing the Uluru and it had been causing great damage to the Heritage site. To protect the site and its sanctity, the government proposed a ban on climbers on the rock.

The ban is yet to take effect and before it is in place, the site has seen a large influx of tourists. The move had opposite effect and the ban acted a trigger for more tourists. “Families arriving in campers vans and RVs are a particular problem,” said Stephen Schewer, chief executive of Tourism Central Australia. "We have got so much of one particular market coming; we don't have enough infrastructures to handle the number of drive travellers."

Because the camping venues are not equipped to deal with the number of tourists, illegal ones are cropping up. "People don't realise when they go off the road they are actually trespassing on pastoral land, or Aboriginal land, or protected land," Schwer said.

"We are getting people that are leaving their rubbish behind and lighting fires," he added. "Sadly, people are also emptying their toilet waste out of their vans on what they think is unpopulated land, but is actually private land."

In the year leading up the June 2019, Uluru witnessed over 395,000 people visiting the Kata National Park, according to a report by Parks Australia. It was a 20 per cent increase from the previous year. Despite the huge numbers, only 13 per cent climbed the rock.

Tour operators around the area have noticed that Australian and Japanese tourists are the most eager to climb the rock as the Aboriginal connection holds great cultural and spiritual significance to them. "Since the hand back of Uluru and Kata Tjuta to traditional owners in 1985, visitors have been encouraged to develop an understanding and respect for Anangu and their culture," a spokesperson for Parks Australia said. 

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