Townsville tour group helps surrounding regions boom

Townsville-based tour company, Raven Tours, is helping surrounding regional businesses to get a slice of the tourism pie by taking customers further afield to some of the region’s most iconic locations.

Owner and Operator Rod Jones started Raven Tours started after he was asked by visiting family to give them a tour of the historic Ravenswood township. The next day he was developing what would become one of Townsville’s favourite tour companies, Raven Tours.

Since then Raven Tours has expanded into offering historic Townsville city tours, multi-day tours to Atherton, City Scenic Tours and day tours to the Hinchinbrook region.

The ‘Taste of Hinchinbrook’ experience has been surprisingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic and has in turn helped Ingham hospitality businesses get through some of the toughest times our tourism industry has faced.

Townsville Enterprise Director – Visitor Economy and Marketing Lisa Woolfe says it’s amazing how far and wide support can be felt and that was why Townsville Enterprise has launched a ‘Together in Tourism’ campaign.

“We hope locals get an idea of the ripple effect of tourism businesses within our community and economy. By spending money with one tour operator you are supporting dozens of connected businesses and suppliers too.,” Mrs Woolfe said.

“The relationship Raven Tours and JK’s Deli has formed is a great example of that,” she said.

“During the uncertainty and chaos that COVID has, and continues to have on our tourism industry, many of our operators have adapted their experiences for the local market. This has helped keep them afloat and has subsequently opened up new partnerships.”

Rod Jones, owner and operator of Raven Tours, said it’s locals supporting locals that keeps the economy turning over and it was a no-brainer to expand his tours to Hinchinbrook to give locals a great new experience but also share their business with Ingham.

“COVID has meant that our tours have predominantly been filled with Townsville locals on board. Most locals would drive through Ingham but once they’ve experienced it through a guided tour, they have a new sense of pride. Meaning they know what is has to offer and time and time again will stop and spend time and money in the region’s economy”

“Most locals don’t realise how far their business goes in supporting our suppliers when they book with us. ” he said.

JK’s Deli owner Karen Vanables, said her business wouldn’t be where it is today without the support of Raven Tours and their customers.

“I would have five less staff, at least, if I didn’t have them visiting us almost every Saturday,” Mrs Vanables said.

“We get so many recurring customers from it. Even this week I had a customer come in saying “we came here with Raven Tours and we’re back”. I think 30% of the deli business is because of their tours.”

“Honestly as a business owner in Ingham I can’t thank Raven Tours enough,” she said.

Raven Tours has launched a new Grand Townsville Tour that explores the cities history and takes customers to Hervey Range Tea Rooms.

Townsville Enterprise is encouraging the community to get involved and show how they support tourism by using the hashtag #TogetherinTourism.

The full campaign details are available on the website.

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