Australia's Ayers Rock announces new plansAyers Rock Resort has unveiled a raft of new schemes to help cement the attraction as one of Australia’s top tourist destinations, now that is it owned by the region’s indigenous communities.

Last week, officials confirmed that it will partner with French hotel chain Accor to give the five hotels that make up the resort (Sails in the Desert, Desert Gardens Hotel, Outback Pioneer & Lodge, Emu Walk Apartments, and Lost Camel Hotel) a makeover, adding them to Accor’s portfolio of brands such as Mercure and Ibis.

The deal will also see new activities added for visitors and a considerable promotion effort overseas, with a particular focus on attracting Asian visitors.

The resort is already working on the Sails in the Desert hotel and is building a new luxury restaurant called Tali Wiru, where visitors will be able to eat under the clear night sky.

Australian officials this week announced an ambitious employment and training program to bring more indigenous staff to the Ayers Rock Resort, the home of one of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions.

The move is part of a long-term plan to ensure that indigenous employment at the resort, sold to an indigenous group earlier this year, reaches 50 percent by 2018, and will also see the resort procuring more from indigenous suppliers.

It is the latest in a series of moves to overhaul Ayers Rock Resort, a hugely popular tourist attraction which has been described as “the biggest tourism opportunity for Indigenous people in Australia’s history.”

Ayers Rock is known as Uluru by indigenous communities and its ragged outline has become one of Australia’s most recognizable attractions.

Next year, a huge new exhibition center is set to open on the site, likely to boost visitor numbers even further than the approximately half a million that currently visit.

By comparison, the Sydney Opera House, the country’s most famous tourist attraction, welcomes over seven million visitors every year. — AFP RELAXNEWS