Tourism Australia Managing Director, Phillipa Harrison.
Tourism Australia Managing Director, Phillipa Harrison.

Business Events Australia – the MICE division of Tourism Australia – has today launched a new $1.5 million program aimed at kickstarting the domestic business events industry, with a focus on driving more regional event activity.

The Business Events Boost Program is a domestic offshoot of the Advance Program which aims at boosting the competitiveness of event planners to bid in offshore markets to host conference and seminars on Australian shores. Under the scheme, convention bureaux, convention centres, professional conference organisers and event managers will be able to boost their own marketing activity with funding and content from Tourism Australia to help entice national gatherings to take place in their state, city or region.

Flagging the new program earlier this week on HM’s ‘The Recovery Starts Now’ webinar, sponsored by Hostplus and Intrust Super, Tourism Australia MD Philippa Harrison said the organisation had received dozens of enquiries about the Bid Fund as many events were being planned years in advance.

“Australia has always been seen as safe and secure,” Harrison said.

Funding to boost regional business events within border allowances, will soon be available.

“I think the things we have to offer – the world is going to be after. The aviation industry is really working hard on making sure that people feel safe to get on a plane for 10 to 20 hours to come here. As long as we get over that hurdle, Australia is really well placed for tourism in the future.”

Federal Tourism Minister, Simon Birmingham, said getting the domestic business events sector going again would be critical to the sector’s overall recovery.

“With restrictions now starting to lift and interstate travel starting to re-commence, this program will help venues and destinations to better market themselves in what is a highly competitive industry and secure lucrative corporate meetings, annual conferences, exhibitions and incentive events,” he said.

“Business events have major flow-on effects by helping to fill hotels, bars and restaurants, and will provide a much-needed boost to businesses and local economies as they rebuild from the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Applications for funding are set to open on 01 July and close on 30 September 2020.