The diversity of tourism experiences in the Northern Rivers region is shown by two quite different towns being selected in the top 10 for Australian Traveller magazine’s top 100 best towns in Australia, according to Northern Rivers Tourism.

A third town in the region, Evans Head, also made the Top 100 in 95th position.

“It is great that Yamba has been voted number one and Byron Bay number seven for different reasons – it reflects the tourism experiences we have to offer, and gives us extra strings to our bow, but it also highlights the need to manage the tourism development to maintain their attractiveness,” says CEO of Northern Rivers Tourism, Russell Mills.

“As the magazine’s editor has said, some people in Yamba may be upset that their secret is out and they may have to share.

“Importantly, anyone involved in the tourism industry in the town – and that is most businesses – has to manage any growth that may come from the publicity such acknowledgement may bring.

“Media coverage of the list is already generating huge awareness of Yamba, with interest coming from overseas such as the UK.

“As a tourism industry we cannot buy this kind of coverage, but as an industry we must be prepared to manage the likely increases in visitors expected to come from it.”

Northern Rivers Tourism is conducting co-operative marketing programs for the region and Mr Mills believes such media acknowledgement as the Top Towns List provides a springboard for the region.

“Byron Bay is already known internationally for its tourism experiences, Yamba will now be more widely known for its different experiences and as a region, the tourism industry needs to work together to use any of  these opportunities to show and market the Northern Rivers’ diversity which is suited to a wide range of travellers  both domestic and international,” Mr Mills said.

The top 10 towns, in order, are Yamba, NSW; Esperance, WA; Port Douglas, Queensland; Broome, WA; Port Fairy, Victoria; Beechworth, Victoria; Byron Bay, NSW; Apollo Bay, Victoria; Strahan, Tasmania; Margaret River, WA.