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Indigenous Australian group partners with global company to increase tourism

The Olkola clan - one of Australia's indigenous groups - has partnered with global travel company Intrepid Travel to increase the amount of tourism in the area.

Having been in control of more than 6,300 square kilometres of land in the far north of Queensland since December 2014, the Olkola has decided to largely focus employment and livelihood on tourism, reports The Guardian.

The clan has decided to do this, despite using the land to mine for uranium and various other minerals.

French company Areva had previously attempted to explore for uranium in the area, but a deal that was negotiated by the Olkola saw them have to abandon their plans.

The Olkola are adamant that the only exploring will be done on foot and in four-wheel drive vehicles, and the clan are readying to welcome the first group of tourists in June.

Groups of up to 12 visitors at a time will be lead around the area with an indigenous guide and will not only be exploring the area, but will also be camping in the region.

It's expected that there will be a lot of interest around the land, as it's known for its biodiversity and for being the largest unbroken tropical savanna in the world.

Per group, the excursion will cost $2,845 (£1,542), making this a real luxury attraction for visitors to this region of Australia.

Mike Ross, chairman of the Olkola Aboriginal Corporation, told The Guardian Australia: "When we got the land back on 10th December, we got all this country. What are we going to do with it? What do you do with it when you've got it? That's been on my mind all the time."

It seems that Mr Ross is in line with the rest of the country, having decided that one of the best ways to help the area flourish is with the help of tourism.

However, he has also said that he is keen to try to bring back as many of the original settlers to this part of Queensland as possible, even though they are hard to track.

Mr Ross has commented that even though it has been difficult, the Alkola is managing to keep a link with its land: "our language is still there. We have a dictionary", showing that although the roots may be buried, they're managing to break through the surface and survive.

Opening up the lands to tourism has been even more appealing, because Mr Ross feels that he "and the visitors, we're learning together. I'm still learning about my country".

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