Indigenous Hospitality students boost Queensland tourism with Mossman Gorge NITA graduation

Indigenous Hospitality students boost Queensland tourism with Mossman Gorge NITA graduation
Edited by Travel Weekly

    A new contingent of Indigenous hospitality stars has been snapped up by Queensland tourism businesses after graduating from the National Indigenous Training Academy (NITA) at Voyage’s Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre in tropical North Queensland.

    The 2024 NITA graduation celebrations took place at Hughie’s in Mossman on Saturday, 8 June, with Douglas Shire Mayor Lisa Scomazzon, Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre GM Rachael Hodges and MGCC trainees, graduates and their families attending.

    Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre is a world-class ecotourism destination and gateway to the Daintree Rainforest. Its Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk – a guided rainforest walk connecting visitors to local Kuku Yalanji culture – is a renowned “must do” for visitors to North Queensland.

    Graduates each completed a nationally accredited Certificate III in Hospitality, which included work placements at luxury resorts in Port Douglas and Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre. Many graduates have gone on to receive job offers from their placement companies, including Aaliyah Nandy at MGCC, Yavaleagh Paii at Ramada Resort, and Lindsay Callope at Niramya Villas and Spa, Port Douglas.

    A Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre Dreamtime Walk Cultural Show.

    From graduate students to tour guides

    Trevayne Pearce, is currently working at Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre as a Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk Tour Guide after graduating from NITA in 2023. He is from the local Kuku Yalanji and was also guest speaker at this year’s graduation ceremony.

    “NITA was a place of support, a way to better focus on myself; it took me out of a really difficult spot and it made me grow,” he said.

    “Throughout my journey at NITA everyone’s been really supportive and they feel like family I’ll never forget. With all their support I’ve been able to become the person that I am today.”

    “Now that I’m a tour guide at Mossman Gorge I love teaching new people every day about culture and learning about their culture in return. It’s taught me that we’re not actually too far from one another – that even though we may be different, we’re still all the same.”

    2024 graduate Yavaleagh Paii was offered a place at Ramada by Wyndham, heading back to Brisbane to spend time with her family before she decides on next steps. Achieved the NITA award for “Excellence” this year.

    “It’s been nice coming up here and learning a new culture, meeting heaps of new people and learning new skills and independence. I’m Torres Strait Island, so it’s been great to learn about the Aboriginal culture,” she said.

    “I’ve loved meeting everyone and meeting new faces, I love working somewhere different – it’s very different to the city life. I love how relaxed and slowed down it is up here. And I’ve loved swimming every weekend!”

    Their graduation follows the release of new Tourism Australia stats, which show a 22% increase in domestic travellers choosing an Indigenous experience since 2019.

    “For us the graduation ceremony is a significant milestone and a celebration of the hard work the trainees have done over the past 12 months to get themselves their certificates,” said Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre general manager Rachael Hodges.

    “If you’re wanting a career, and you want to achieve lots in life, this is the perfect place to start. Start with the traineeship here with us at Mossman Gorge and the world opens up to you.”

    “Currently over 60% of our staff at Mossman Gorge are Indigenous and we’d certainly love to see that increase, and for other business to take on our young people in these types of programs.”

    Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) established to undertake tourism business on its behalf.

    The NITA graduates Yavaleagh Paii, Aaliyah Nandy and Lindsay Callope at Hughie’s.

    Real-life tourism work environment

    NITA provides young Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders the opportunity to live, learn and earn in a real work environment while achieving market-leading hospitality and tourism qualifications at Voyages’ Mossman Gorge and Ayers Rock Resort sites. Mossman Gorge’s Indigenous employment figures are now among the highest in the industry, at over 60%, with many NITA graduates among its staff.

    “Our graduates have bright futures in tourism ahead, and we’re proud of what they have achieved on their NITA journey at Mossman Gorge,” says Matt Cameron-Smith, CEO Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia.

    “This year we’ll celebrate our 700th NITA graduate, testament to the strong demand for the program from trainees, employers and the wider industry – with all groups reaping the benefits of shared Indigenous culture, knowledge and skills.”

    Douglas Shire Mayor Lisa Scomazzon congratulated the graduates for completing their traineeship with NITA

    “Over the years, the program has provided a springboard for young Indigenous people to find jobs in tourism and hospitality and I am sure this will also be the case for the latest round of graduates,” he said.

    “Regardless of whether they find work at a Port Douglas resort or with a tourism operator elsewhere, Council will always be proud their employment journey began with NITA at Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre.”

    For more information visit NITA | National Indigenous Training Academy

    2024 NITA graduates Yavaleagh Paii, Aaliyah Nandy and Lindsay Callope.

    Latest News

    • Cruise

    Cruise Traveller’s new Scottish Highlands cruise tour package

    Australian small ship cruising specialist, Cruise Traveller, offers a 20-night land and sea holiday in the UK aboard the Lord of the Glens. The tiny cruise line’s 52-guest boutique vessel, Lord of the Glens, is purpose-built to explore the intricate waterways and lochs of the Scottish Highlands. It boasts a rich, traditional ambience with polished […]

    • Cruise

    Celebrity Xcel’s keel-laying ceremony in France, with 2025 inaugural sail planned

    Construction has commenced on Celebrity Cruises’ next ship, Celebrity Xcel, with a keel-laying ceremony at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. An Edge Series ship, Celebrity Xcel will set sail in autumn 2025, with several new yet-to-be-revealed offerings. At the ceremony, Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group (RCG), the parent […]

    • Destinations
    • Tour Operators

    Globus unveils nine new independent tours for 2025

    Coach touring brand Globus has unveiled nine new independent tours for 2025, from Bangkok to Bali and Abu Dhabi to Nepal. “With Globus Independent tours, our guests are free to enjoy the many benefits of touring, untethered and unscheduled,” APAC head of marketing, Globus family of brands (GFOB), Chris Fundell said. “Providing hand-picked hotel accommodations, […]

    • Hotels

    Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group opens Mandarin Oriental Mayfair

    The Mandarin Oriental has opened a second property in London, the Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, in the heart of historic Hanover Square. Designed by internationally renowned Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, the hotel is the first new build in Mayfair in over a decade. Bringing a modern architectural approach to one of London’s most storied squares, […]

    • Hotels

    Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort unveils Coral Kids Club

    On top of its US$85 million (AU$150m) transformation, Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort’s new Coral Kids Club provides an engaging activity centre for kids. Designed for keiki (children), ages 5-12, the activity centre offers daily cultural workshops with hands-on activities rooted around the Āina Guardian workbook. It was developed by Candes Gentry, co-author of Eat […]

    • Hotels

    Minor Hotels announces fourth franchised hotel

    Minor Hotels has added to its portfolio of more than 500 hotels in operation after signing Oaks Melbourne on William Suites as its fourth franchised hotel. The 220-room apartment hotel is the third Oaks property signed under a franchise model after the Oaks Toowoomba and Oaks Townsville Metropole. The proven success of these properties highlights […]

    • Destinations

    Phuket unveils cutting-edge medical facility

    Minor Hotels has announced Layan Life by Anantara, a world-class medical wellness facility that is set to elevate Phuket’s reputation as an international medical wellness destination. The new facility is set across 1,767sqm within the grounds of Anantara Layan Phuket Resort and is set to open in Q3 of this year. It offers a blend […]

    • Events

    Out West Piano Fest comes alive in Bathurst

    The three-day symphony of the senses comes back to Bathurst, at picturesque Blackdown Farm, as Out West Piano Fest returns 25-27 October. Located just five minutes away from Bathurst NSW is a pastoral heritage, art, and culture. It was also once home to Australian artist, Tim Storrier. The extensive gardens in full spring bloom offer […]

    • Attractions
    • Cruise

    Japan in Bloom with Cruise Express

    Send clients out to experience the best of the Land of the Rising Sun with Cruise Express and their Japan in Bloom expedition, a 21-night adventure. As interest in Japan hits an all-time high, Cruise Express is pleased to announce its ultimate Japanese bucket list trip. This adventure is geared for Australians wanting to tick […]

    • Road & Rail

    Explore Uzbekistan with Golden Eagle Luxury Trains

    Golden Eagle Luxury Trains presents an exclusive itinerary to Uzbekistan with ensuite cabins, a personal cabin attendant, and off-train excursions. Travelling aboard the opulent Golden Eagle train, with ensuite cabins, guests will dive deep into Uzbekistan’s spectacularly global cultural identity. A personal cabin attendant, all porterage and gratuities and all off train excursions are included […]