Sydney Harbour Boat Tours

Sydney Harbour Boat Tours owner Mark Dalgleish discusses the benefits of attending trade events.

Business profile

Sydney Harbour Boat Tours is an innovator in the traditional small-group harbour cruise and charter sector. It operates fast, beach-accessible boats that venture beyond the iconic sights to explore beautiful national parks, historic sites and secluded beaches. It is the only boat operator in Sydney capable of landing directly onto beaches and the only boat operator with Ecotourism certification.

Local skippers and guides provide insightful commentary and warm ‘Aussie’ hospitality on scheduled tours, harbourside lunches, group outings and luxury private charters.

Quick Facts

Product Type: Cruise & Tour

Focus: Adventure & Nature, Luxury

Location: Sydney Harbour

NSW First spoke to Sydney Harbour Boat Tours owner Mark Dalgleish about why the business is involved with the program.

How did the Destination NSW New Product Workshop help your business?

The New Product Workshop enabled us to get our products export ready and be prepared to present and engage with the travel trade in the most professional way.

Which international markets do you target?

We aim our product primarily at Western markets, but are also exploring the China and South East Asian markets.

What types of trade partners are you working with?

We are working with inbound tour operators, online travel agents and travel retailers.

Mark Dalgleish – Owner, Sydney Harbour Boat Tours
Which trade events have you attended?

We have attended several Destination NSW roadshows to China, Korea and the USA as well as Focus on India, Focus on Japan and Focus on Greater China, held in Sydney.

Why did you make the decision to attend these events?

As a new operator we wanted to gain maximum exposure to international wholesalers and inbound tour operators.

How did you prepare?

We have prepared a multimedia presentation with images, key information and video on each of our products.

How does attending trade events fit into your inbound strategy?

To create a scalable and viable tourism business, inbound is essential. So it is important as a new entrant to show the inbound tour operators (ITOs) that you are serious about inbound. By attending trade events you continue to demonstrate your product to international buyers, who in turn will provide feedback to the ITOs.

To create a scalable and viable tourism business, inbound is essential.
What is your top tip for a business attending its first trade event?

Keep your pitch short and concise and find out which of your competitors the buyers are already using, so you can highlight your point of difference.

What do you wish you knew when you started working with the travel trade?

Don’t expect overnight success with inbound tourism. As a new operator you need to be very patient to succeed in this market and invest for the long term, because just having a great product, passionate staff and boundless energy does not guarantee you’ll have thousands of new customers pouring in. It takes time to connect all the different parts of the puzzle, working the retailers, wholesalers and inbound tour operators simultaneously.

Which activities would you recommend when you start working with the travel trade?
  • Attend as many trade events that your budget can afford.
  • Focus on the Destination NSW trade events that target your key markets.
  • Attend the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE).