Tourism operators in the Northern Rivers must improve their business and marketing skills, or risk losing business and market share as consumer tourism spending becomes more selective, according to CEO of Northern Rivers Tourism, Russell Mills.

“We have great tourism businesses and opportunities to match, but it is critical that as an industry we are collectively more professional in what is becoming a highly competitive marketplace.  Many businesses still do not recognise that they must improve their business skills to remain profitable and build their businesses,” Mr Mills said.

Mr Mills believes that the Northern Rivers has the attractions and the location to continue to do well competing for Australian and overseas tourists, but more needs to be done by the operators themselves.

“Many rely on national, State and regional tourism authorities like NRT to lead the marketing effort, but industry participation is crucial,” he said.

“There is a great need to upskill and make greater use of marketing opportunities such as online marketing to survive the expected tourism downturn. We provide support through training seminars and workshops, but without participation, we are in danger of losing share to our competitors.”

Northern Rivers Tourism has been successful in gaining funding from the NSW Department of Regional State Development to conduct a series of Travelling Experts Workshops in Murwillumbah, Kyogle, Bangalow and Yamba from 24-27 March. The Murwillumbah Workshop is being jointly presented by NRT and the Bed & Breakfast & Farmstay Association NSW/ACT.

“Tourism workshops are a practical and hands-on way for tourism industry operators to learn,” Mr Mills said.

“Based on the experience and knowledge of industry professionals, these workshops provide operators, business owners and there staff to receive up-to-date training and insight to grow their business success.”

The workshops cost $33 for members of NRT, $44 for non members and include professional presentations on packaging for wholesale distribution, developing effective tourism clusters, and online marketing in a Web 2.0 world.  They also include morning and afternoon tea and lunch.

For bookings or more information visit the website, www.tourismworkshops.com.au