Business travel to get $50m boost with government grants

Business travellers will be encouraged back to Canberra with new grants. Picture: Jamila Toderas
Business travellers will be encouraged back to Canberra with new grants. Picture: Jamila Toderas

Businesses will be offered grants of up to $250,000 to help them attend business events and conferences under a $50 million plan from the federal government to inject money into the domestic tourism industry.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham and Prime Minister Scott Morrison will on Friday announce the fund, which will aim to encourage businesses to attend events, trade shows and conferences within Australia.

Businesses will be able to apply for grants worth up to half of the costs of attending an approved business event in 2021, between $10,000 and $250,000. The grants will cover hiring exhibition spaces, design and manufacture of displays, travel and accommodation costs.

It's been estimated the loss of business events in Canberra could cost the local economy $50 million in the next year alone, threatening hotels, catering businesses and others that rely on conferences to bring in business.

"Getting business events up and running again will be a critical part of the recovery of our tourism industry, but will also have huge flow-on effects through the entire economy," Mr Morrison said.

"This is not only about supporting events companies and venues, but will also be a shot in the arm for a broad range of businesses and the people they employ - whether it's accommodation providers, those who build exhibitions, caterers, cleaners or those offering audio-visual services."


Senator Birmingham said the business events industry supported 230,000 jobs, and creating incentives for attendance would give event organisers the confidence to plan business events in 2021.

Australians have been encouraged to holiday at home, and new figures to be released on Friday show domestic tourism rebounded in June, while some borders were still closed around the country.

The ACT recorded 104,000 domestic visitors in June, up from 70,000 in May and a low of 24,000 in April at the height of COVID-19 restrictions.

Domestic tourism spending came in at $35 million in the ACT in June, up from $27 million in May and just $4 million in April.

Nationally domestic tourism spending grew $1 billion between May and April.

Travel restrictions were relaxed between some states in June, but have since hardened, becoming a point of tension between the federal and state governments.

"This data demonstrates that Australians are willing and eager to travel where it's safe to do so, which is a reminder that excessive border restrictions are limiting the jobs recovery in some communities and businesses," Senator Birmingham said.

"I urge Australians who are in a position to do so, to take a staycation, organise an offsite business meeting at venue or for those who live in the bush, to book a weekend away in the big smoke as this could help to save a tourism business or the job of an Australian."

This story New $50m fund to boost business travel first appeared on The Canberra Times.