Australia’s two leading accommodation associations have thrown their weight behind the Federal Government’s new AUD$48.5 million Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund.
The Accommodation Association of Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Richard Munro, said the fund, which was launched by the Federal Government on October 23, is a tangible incentive for investment in this business sector.
“One of the central goals in the Tourism 2020 strategy is lifting the quality of tourism accommodation rooms in regional Australia and the Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund will give this process a big push,” Munro said.
“Although there are a number of hotels, motels and apartments in regional areas which already have refurbished or new facilities, grants from the fund are an opportunity for other businesses to undertake capital expenditure to improve their offering.”
Munro said targeting businesses in regional areas where visitor numbers can often fluctuate depending on the time of year is particularly positive.
“All tourism accommodation businesses in regional areas have an equal opportunity to apply for funding,” Munro said.
“The Government has actively provided assistance to the industry through similar programs, such as TQUAL grants, and we expect the Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund will be allocated on a similar basis.
“It will assist with making Australia a more competitive destination for both international and domestic visitors.”
Tourism Accommodation Australia Managing Director Rodger Powell welcomed the announcement that applications for the Fund would open in December.
“This fund will be available to help hotels located outside our three biggest cities to fund upgrades to their facilities and keep pace with increasing customer demand for high quality accommodation,” Powell said.
“Hotels now have an opportunity to secure dollar-for-dollar funding support to upgrade existing guest facilities or expand to provide new and innovative products and services that will help attract new business.
“The Government contribution is being funded through a ten per cent allocation of the recent increases to airline passenger taxes. TAA congratulates Minister Ferguson for working to ensure that part of the increase in tax collected from the tourism industry is retained for the benefit of the tourism industry.”
“Targeting this money towards improvements in regional tourism product will be helpful in assisting Tourism Australia deliver on the Tourism 2020 strategic plan. It is essential that the expectations of overseas visitors are met with quality experiences and accommodation.”