Tourist rush at Australia's Uluru before climb ban

  • Sunday 14, July 2019 11:03 AM
  • Tourist rush at Australia's Uluru before climb ban
Sharjah24 – AFP: A looming ban on climbing Australia's Uluru rock, intended to protect the sacred site from damage, has instead triggered a damaging influx of visitors, tourism operators said Friday.
Clambering up the giant red monolith, also known as Ayers Rock, will be prohibited from October in line with the wishes of the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land, the Anangu.

But a rush to beat the ban has led to a sharp increase in tourists and is causing its own problems for the World Heritage Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

Families arriving in campers vans and RVs are a particular problem, chief executive of Tourism Central Australia Stephen Schwer said.

While most visitors are doing the right thing, camping venues in the area are at capacity with advance bookings, leaving many less organised arrivals to set up illegally.

In the 12 months to June 2019, more than 395,000 people visited the Uluru-Kata National Park, according to Parks Australia, about 20 percent more than the previous year.

Yet just 13 percent of those who visited also climbed the rock, the government agency said.

Tourism operators say that Australian and Japanese tourists most commonly seek to climb Uluru.

The Aboriginal connection to the site dates back tens of thousands of years and it has great spiritual and cultural significance to them.

Lyndee Severin from Curtin Springs station and roadhouse, one of just a few camping venues within 100 kilometres of Uluru, said "the vast majority of people are doing the right thing" but hundreds were setting up illegally by the side of the road or down a bush track.