Regional destinations around Australia are to get greater access to funding to help them secure lucrative international business events, thanks to changes being made to the Morrison Government’s Business Events Bid Fund Programme.
Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham (pictured) announced, 16 August, a series of changes to the eligibility criteria of the A$12m (US$8.14m) Bid Fund Programme, which is managed by Tourism Australia, to allow destinations bidding for smaller events to apply for funding.
“The Morrison Government’s Business Events Bid Fund Programme aims to provide Australian destinations with a crucial edge when competing against other international destinations for an event by providing funding support for their bids,” Minister Birmingham said.
“Business events are one of the most crucial sectors of Australia’s tourism industry delivering huge economic benefits to the broader economy, with business events visitors injecting A$5bn into the economy last year.
“The fund has been hugely successful and has received overwhelming support from key stakeholders and the tourism industry.
“Since its launch last year, the fund has received 88 event bid applications with 23 of these having been converted as new business for Australia worth more than A$270m to the economy.
“After reflecting on the first year of operation we asked the industry what could be done to make the fund more effective. Based on their feedback, we felt there was scope to make the programme more accessible by broadening the terms and conditions so that more bids are eligible to access funds.
“This means that the programme will now offer greater assistance to regional destinations that often bid for smaller international events and which we know provide far reaching economic benefits to their local communities by filling hotel rooms, restaurants and venues.”
The Business Events Bid Fund Programme is designed to increase conversion of new international business for Australia by offering financial support for bidding organisations such as convention bureaux and convention centres.
Funds are only provided once the event is confirmed and cover costs related to the delivery of the event, including venue hire and accommodation costs.
To date, the Bid Fund Programme has helped to secure 23 events for Australia. Those publicly announced so far include:
- 2019 SportAccord World Sport and Business Summit, Gold Coast
- 145th IATA Slot Conference, Brisbane 2019
- IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence SSCI 2020, Canberra
- UITP 2021 Global Public Transport Summit, Melbourne
- Society for Freshwater Science Annual Meeting 2021, Brisbane
- 13th Congress of International Plant Molecular Biology 2021, Cairns
- Rotary International Convention 2023, Melbourne
- International Congress on Mathematical Education 2024, Sydney
- Yiyongtang Incentive Trip 2019, Brisbane
- Jiadai Incentive 2019, Brisbane
- Asia Oceania Otorhinolaryngological Head and Neck Surgery Congress 2023, Brisbane
- Amway Taiwan Incentive group 2019, Gold Coast
- World Conference on Family Doctors, Sydney
The following changes to the programme’s terms and conditions, designed to accommodate a greater number of bids, include:
- Lowering the number of international delegates confirmed for Association events from 500 currently to 400
- Lowering the number of international delegates confirmed for Incentive events of a minimum value of A$3m from 1,000 currently to 700
- Lowering the level of matched funds required from applicants from A$100,000 currently to A$50,000
- Extending applications for event travel up to 30 December 2024.
The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) welcomed the changes to the Business Events Bid Fund Programme announced by Minister Birmingham.
“We commend Minister Birmingham and Tourism Australia for consulting with AACB, its members and the broader business events industry, and implementing changes that will make the programme more accessible to regional Australia,” an association statement ran.
AACB CEO, Andrew Hiebl said: “This is a win for many of the AACB’s member convention bureaux which will result in increased international bid wins and drive high yield visitation for smaller destinations, generating jobs across the tourism and events sector including venues, accommodation and restaurants.”
AACB President, Michael Matthews added: “The success of the bid fund to date, is evident that a future dedicated and increased bid fund is a good strategy for Australia to improve our international competitiveness. The business events market is dynamic and growing globally and we need to remain ahead of the game against fierce competition within our region.
“Ernst & Young indicate that the business events industry contributes A$30bn in direct expenditure and over 193,000 direct jobs each year. The future success of Australia’s business events industry will boost trade and investment, support the knowledge economy, and help local industries showcase their capabilities on the world stage.”