Four major changes made to Tourism Australia’s $12 million Business Events Bid Fund Program have opened up access for regional destinations to compete with major cities to secure international events – a move applauded by accommodation and hospitality advocacy groups.
Among the key changes are a reduction in the number of delegates required to access funding assistance from 500 to 400. In addition, the minimum number of delegates needed for incentives of $3 million and above has been cut from 1,000 to 700. Further, the required level of funds matching has been halved from $100k to $50k and event travel request deadlines have been extended up to 30 December 2024.
The moves will make Australia’s regional towns and major centres outside capital cities more competitive when it comes to securing international conferences and incentives. In turn, benefits to these communities will be amplified as more events are now expected to come through a boost to visitor numbers.
Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson praised the move, saying the adjusted criteria needed to apply for Federal Government assistance under the program will see more regional centres able to bid for larger events. He added that influxes of corporate visitors to regional towns delivers major benefits to regional hotels, restaurants, attractions, pubs and taverns.
“Securing international business events is increasingly competitive. Given that we know that regional destinations receive a significant economic boost when hosting these events, it is important that this support will make Australian towns even more competitive when engaging in the bidding process.”