As New South Wales blasts through vaccine milestones, the state government is stepping up to invest $530 million in the tourism and events industry which has been hard hit by pandemic restrictions.
The package, unveiled today, sees the Stay & Rediscover scheme expanded, support extended to major events across the state, and the introduction of a Festival Relaunch package among several other programs.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said this package would bring back tourists and supercharge the businesses and attractions that contribute $38 billion to the local economy.
“Millions of people around the world dream of visiting Sydney and our regional areas. This package not only ensures they can, but that they’ll experience the very best of what we have to offer,” Perrottet said.
“It’s also great news for people right across our state, reviving events and businesses and bringing our major drawcards back to life.
“Importantly, more than 300,000 people rely on our tourism industry and our aim is to reclaim our position as one of the world’s favourite destinations.”
The tourism and events recovery package includes:
- $250 million for the expanded Stay & Rediscover scheme providing a $50 voucher to all NSW adults to redeem at accommodation premises across NSW.
- $150 million to support the recovery of major event activity across the state including $50 million for a Regional Events Package to support major events, festivals, agricultural shows and community events across the regions.
- $60 million for an Aviation Attraction Fund to incentivise international airlines to re-commence flights to Sydney.
- $6 million to bring business events back to the city.
- $50 million for the CBDs Revitalisation Program to support events and activations in CBDs across Greater Sydney and surrounds.
- An Event Saver Fund to provide immediate support to organisers if events are cancelled or disrupted by any public health orders during the 2021-22 summer.
- $25 million for the Festival Relaunch package – to stabilise established commercial and not-for-profit festivals, big and small, so they can program with confidence into 2022/23.
- $10 million for a Recovery Marketing Campaign including an extension of the successful roadtrips campaign launched in 2020.
Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres said the much-needed investment will help revive shuttered businesses and bring tourism providers back to their vibrant best.
“This was a one in one hundred year event which severely damaged our tourism industry, operators barely hung in there as they lost bookings, customers and staff, now as we rebuild we can do so with confidence,” Ayres said.
“For our visitor economy to reach its full potential we need event owners to dream big, airlines to fly in and for locals and visitors to embrace our world class venues and hospitality with enthusiasm once again.”
The package has been welcomed by peak industry bodies today which have applauded the government for supporting the state’s tourism and events operators.
“The uncertainty of snap lockdowns has crippled the events industry; this new fund will allow organisers to start planning today for a cracking 2022,” NSW Tourism Industry Council executive manager Greg Binskin said.
“This in turn will encourage more visitor spending, providing social and economic benefits to all those towns and villages who have tourism and events as a key source of income.”
Business NSW chief executive Daniel Hunter was pleased the package supports businesses state-wide, not just those operating in Greater Sydney.
“Business NSW has been telling government since the start of the pandemic that different industries were being impacted in different ways, but the tourism, hospitality and events sector has been the hardest hit,” Hunter said.
“What is particularly pleasing is this is not a Sydney centric package but recognises that all of NSW has a part to play in the economic recovery through regional events and tourism, with support for satellite CBD’s a cornerstone of this funding.
“The exciting part about this support package is that it will actually encourage more business investment and drive a collaborative partnership between business and Government in securing events and once again making NSW the number one destination in the Asia Pacific region for both business and travel.”
It comes as the peak body representing the Australian tourism export sector, Australian Tourism Export Council, has called on the Federal Government to provide a date and a framework for reopening international borders so tourism businesses can plan for 2022.
“Since the announcement by the NSW Government last Friday, our members have been fielding inquiries from intending travellers looking to book an Australian holiday or visit their family but they still can't make these bookings with any certainty,” ATEC managing director Peter Shelley said.
“We simply can't afford to continue to keep our borders closed to high spending international travellers and miss critical ‘booking windows’ as these people simply will choose to holiday in other competing destinations, putting Australia at the bottom of their bucket list.
“Right now we are heading into the northern hemisphere's annual booking season when the US, Europe and the UK are facing a long winter and typically plan their travel to warmer climates like Australia. If we miss this booking window it will not surface again for another 12 months."
Updated at 12.10pm AEDT on 20 October 2021.
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