Spice up tourism with fresh food

WHEN it comes to generating new tourism dollars, operators have to think outside the square, says Northern Rivers Tourism boss Russell Mills.

And that is the focus of a tourism seminar, to be held at the Byron At Byron resort October 19 and 20.

With domestic visitor numbers down in the past year, the push is on to entice them back, with new initiatives.

Mr Mills said our region produced an extraordinary range of fresh food, from macadamias to stone fruit to coffee and tea, to sweet pork and seafood.

Food-related tourism was worth a push, he said.

"Places like the Barossa Valley in South Australia and Tasmania's Tamar Valley have already embraced this form of tourism," he said.

"We haven't sung loudly enough about our food bowl focus. A lot more can be made of it."

Wellbeing industries should also look at bringing tourism to the Northern Rivers and Mr Mills said less traditional areas of tourism should be exploited, with health spas, massage and holistic healing venues included.

"Our region is more than just beaches and rainforest," he said.

The late October gathering will also investigate a growing niche sector, with 15 Indigenous representatives booked to attend the conference.

"This is about making the most of what we have," Mr Mills said.

While domestic tourism may have faltered, international visitor numbers were stronger than ever, reflecting the depth of the backpacker tourism market on our region.

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