The Victorian government has announced that business events operators will be eligible to apply for grants of up to $25,000 in a bid to entice interstate visitors to travel to Victoria.

The National Business Event Program will be directed by the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB), with eligible events consisting of conferences, exhibitions, workshops and seminars.

The grants will be available to fund venue hire, transport, accommodation and event costs to help spread the financial benefits across Victoria’s business events supply chain, with 50 percent payable before the event commences to minimise any financial risk.

The Victorian government believes that the grants have huge potential to add significant value to the states tourism industry and economy. The government aspires to bring more business events to Victoria to boost the states highly competitive global business events sector which was prominent and attracted a large number of people to the state prior to the covid-19 pandemic.

The Victorian government believes that the grants are an excellent investment as business events often lead to an increase in accommodation bookings and spending in hospital venues, this supports jobs across the economy and keeps people employed.

Applications for the grant will remain open until 30th June 2021 for new event bookings to be held in Melbourne through until December 2022.

Last year the Australian Government allocated $50 million to the business events sector in a bid to enhance the struggling tourism and hospitality industries.

Australian businesses exhibiting at an approved business meeting, conference, convention and incentive event in 2021 will be eligible to apply for upfront grants to cover anywhere up to 50 percent of their costs, ranging anywhere between $10,000 and $250,000.

It is in the viewpoint of the Australian Government that business events up and running again has the potential to play a pivotal role in helping the tourism industry recovery and will also have a huge flow-on effect and therefore positively impact the entire economy.

The Federal Government has chosen to extend its small and medium-sized enterprise loan scheme. The SME recovery loan scheme will be an adaptation of the SME Guarantee Scheme which was introduced in March 2020. The scheme provides loans of up to $5 million, 80% of the loan is guaranteed by the government and 20% is paid by a participating bank.

To be eligible for the new scheme, businesses must have received JobKeeper between January 4 and March 28 2021, and must a turnover of either $250 million or less. Self-employed workers and non-profit businesses are also eligible for the loan.

As part of the expansion of the $1.2 billion SME Guarantee Scheme the government is offering half-price flight tickets and direct support to help “keep planes in the air and airline workers in their jobs”.

The half-price ticket program will be operating in 13 of Australia’s most popular tourism regions. These include; the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, the Whitsundays, Cairns, Mackay region (Hamilton Island and Proserpine), Lasseter and Alice Springs, Devonport and Burnie, Launceston, Broome, Avalon, Merimbula and Kangaroo Island.

The number of flights, routes and tickets will be based on the public’s demand and the government is still in discussions with the airlines to confirm the exacts numbers which will be available.

The discounts will be off the average fare and will be available to purchase on airline websites from 1st April 2021. 

A $50 million Business Events Grants Program has also been extended by an additional three months. This project will support Australian businesses who hold multi-day businesses events. Under the program the government will cover up to 50 percent of the costs incurred in participating business events during 2021 to help restart Australia’s business events sector.

A $94.6 million Zoos and Aquarium program has also been extended by six months. This government program will assist zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums to maintain their animal populations where their pre-covid tourism revenue has been impacted as a result of social distancing restrictions and travel bans.

The Covid-19 Consumer Travel Support Program has also be extended for an extra three months after 13th March 2021. 

Despite the Australian economy having recovered 85 percent of its fall from the covid-19 pandemic, the tourism industry is one of the key industries that is still doing it tough financially.

It is expected that there will be around 800,000 half-price airfares to get Australians travelling and supporting tourism operators, travel agents, businesses and airlines who continue to struggle through the covid-19 pandemic, while Australia’s international borders remain closed.

The governments new support packages will encourage more tourists to visit hotels, cafes and take tours. This will consequently lead to more jobs being created in the aviation, tourism and hospitality sectors.

Post Author: Craig Dangar

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