RUNNING a station-stay business requires patience, tolerance and hard work. In a "warts and all" address, Midwest Tourism Promotions executive secretary Rita Stinson told the recent Pastoralists and Graziers Association pastoral conference that tourism was not for the faint hearted. Mrs Stinson, who hails from a pastoral station, said operating a station stay required a genuine commitment. "It is not advisable to set up just for the money, or you are going to fall on your face," she said. "Appearances are very important." However, Mrs Stinson said pastoralists should not try to destroy the charm and simplicity of station life in a bid to improve appearances. "Do what you can with what you have, you don't have to outlay a whole lot of money," she said. "Paying attention to the details is also very important." Above all, Mrs Stinson told the gathering that station stays should be clean and comfortable, "but not too sterile". Pastoralists involved in station stays need to enjoy the company of people and be prepared to show them station life. Mrs Stinson said people who went to station stays were looking for new experiences and hoping to learn about a different way of life. "The more you show visitors, the longer they will stay," she said. This could include showing off environmental, heritage of archeological sites, cooking bush tucker or, if you are creative, displaying works of art. Mrs Stinson said, alternatively, some visitors may just want to sit and relax, away from telephones and the pressure of work. "Some people are looking for isolation and can't wait to get away from it all to sit and look at the sites," she said. Mrs Stinson said the most important ingredients for a successful station-stay operation were the support of both partners and a willingness to meet and talk to other people. "It will not be successful unless both the husband and the wife have commitment," she said. "You also need to determine whether you are going to like waiting on people." Mrs Stinson said tourism operators also needed to be prepared to give up their social life during the busy season. She said if all this could be achieved, operating a station stay could be very rewarding and a profitable way of earning more income.