DIY tip for our tourism
JOHN Ewin has boiled billy tea for tens of thousands of tourists seeking a taste of the Tweed.
And he reckons simply getting those tourists to come here requires the same sort of down-to-earth commonsense approach needed for boiling a billy or a dozen other bush skills.
You have to do it yourself.
During 18 years of conducting more than 3500 tours of the Border Ranges and hundreds of other outback trips, Mr Ewin estimates he spent about a third of his income on promotion.
The reason other Tweed tourism has failed, he says, is that other operators aren't prepared to do the same.
No point in trying to throw the hat in with the Gold Coast Tourism Bureau either. Mr Ewin firmly believes the Tweed should stand alone, it just needs local commitment.
"We were spending 30 per cent of our money on promotion and our accountant said we should be spending 7 to 8 per cent," he said.
"That's why others failed."
Mr Ewin, who ran Never Never Safaris from his Crystal Creek home outside Murwillumbah, had hoped to have "faded out quietly" after selling the tour business.
But wife Denise so staunchly believes "what John has done for the Tweed has been overlooked" that she yesterday convinced the former wheat farmer from Condobolin south west of Dubbo to talk about nearly two decades in the business.
He revealed promotion was a job that he and Denise took on themselves full-heartedly rather than leave it to others, attending international tourism conferences in Australia and seeking out contacts overseas.
"The Tweed is an identity that can be promoted by itself," he said. "This place just offers so much."