In a bid to preserve and protect the legacy and spiritual significance of Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) in Australia, from 2019 tourists will no longer be allowed to climb it. Uluru has been climbable since the 1930s, however, the indigenous Aangu people, the traditional owners of the land, have been staunchly against this for decades.
While tourists will still be able to visit and see Uluru, once the pre-booked climbs have been carried out, the path will be closed to visitors from October 26, 2019.
The decision was made by the traditional landowners and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park representatives.
Although it is thought that the climbing ban will hurt tourism, visitor numbers had been steadily decreasing for years as education and awareness regarding the site's history became more widespread.
For those who may be traveling to Australia and had pre-booked a trip to Uluru, it's unlikely anything will have changed. Only from 2019 will visitors be banned from climbing the sacred spot.
The Central Land Council (CLC), who represents Aboriginal people in Central Australia, welcomed the move. With director David Ross saying in a statement:
"This decision has been a very long time coming and our thoughts are with the elders who have longed for this day but are no longer with us to celebrate it.
Why this decision wasn't made decades ago is a fair question ... Aangu have genuinely struggled to accommodate many powerful competing interests and have faced massive pressure."
Here's hoping that the future of Uluru as a striking destination for travelers can remain intact whilst preserving and respecting the beliefs of the indigenous community.