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Tourists flock to Uluru ahead of climb ban, leaving ‘serious mess’

3AW Breakfast

Madness has descended around Uluru, as tourists flock to climb the rock before the practice is banned in October.

People are leaving rubbish everywhere and locals fear the influx may cause long term damage.

Stephen Schwer, Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Central Australia, said many people are arriving without accommodation booked.

“Quite a lot of people are turning up without having booked anything,” he told 3AW’s Kate and Quarters.

“There is only limited space available at the campgrounds, so we’re finding people are camping in areas where they don’t realise they’re trespassing on private property, or they’re in protected areas.”

“Unfortunately they’re leaving some serious mess and we just want people to be a bit more respectful of the landscape.”

Tourism providers are not concerned about tourist numbers after the October climb ban.

“The rock climb is something that mostly Australians and the Japanese market do, it’s not something that most other source markets for us do,” Mr Schwer said.

“We’ve already got 80 to 90 per cent accommodation occupancy through November and December, after the climb closes.

“You can enjoy these places without having to climb all over them.”

Mr Schwer said the reasons for Tourism Central Australia’s support for the climb ban are threefold:

    1. Cultural issues: It’s a sacred site for the traditional Aboriginal owners, and they would rather that people not climb.
    2. Environmental reasons: There are no toilets at the top of the climb, so human waste washes off the rock and pollutes the water holes surrounding the site.
    3. Safety reasons: It’s a difficult climb, many are injured during the climb and there have been deaths on Uluru.

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