Lirrwi Tourism Guiding Principles  


These Guiding Principles were developed by Yolŋu people to provide a decision-making framework for the successful development of Arnhem Land as an exciting, rewarding new tourism destination. All existing and new tourism businesses will be required to subscribe to these Guiding Principles as a component of the Service Agreement with Lirrwi Tourism. 

The country 

  • Arnhem Land has been the home of Yolŋu people since the beginning of time; they have always been there, and this must be acknowledged and respected.

  • Yolŋu have a responsibility to care for country.

  • Tourism should never control what happens on country. 

Tourism business 

  • Yolŋu must have the right to say who can and who cannot visit the country.

  • Yolŋu wish to share knowledge with people from other places.

  • The marketing and promotion of Arnhem Land must embrace all these values.

  • The tourism calendar must synchronise with the Yolŋu calendar.

  • Yolŋu should partner with Balanda, but not depend on Balanda.

  • Tourism must be flexible and fit in with Yolŋu culture, not control it.

  • Infrastructure must be not overdone and kept in harmony with the country.

  • Finances are only an instrumental means for achieving success and will never be considered an end in themselves: maximising profit will never be the number one business objective. 


  • Recognition that Yolŋu are ‘farmers and custodians’, not nomads.

  • Visitors must recognise that Arnhem Land is a place to be slow and steady.

  • Yolŋu wish to be inclusive for all Australians.

  • Tourism should be a positive influence on Yolŋu to provide value.

  • Tourism should be a source of pride for Yolŋu.

  • Yolŋu will be open to mentoring.

  • Tourism must recognise ‘Mulwat’ — value. 


  • Yolŋu will have the right to decide how much and what information to share.

  • Surface information is enough for sharing.

  • Ceremony takes precedence over tourism.

  • External stakeholders must learn Yolŋu culture and system. 


  • The land and all it contains, needs to be recognised for its significance to Yolŋu people.

  • Sacred sites must be respected by everyone.

  • History must be revised through tourism to recognise the Yolŋu people as the first people of Arnhem Land.

  • The environment will be respected at all times.

  • Respect is a key requirement for all visitors.