Applications will open next week for a share of $10 million in funding to bring tourists back to bushfire-affected communities including Noosa, Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien announced today.
Mr O'Brien said the grants will go a long way in supporting the billion-dollar Noosa tourism industry to remain strong despite the challenges caused by the fires.
"The Noosa region is a star in Australia's tourism market and attracts 2 million visitors every year, generating more than $1 billion a year in tourism spending," Mr O'Brien said.
"It is vitally important that the Noosa tourism industry is supported through the challenges it is facing following these devastating bushfires, and these grants will ensure people continue to visit Noosa and generate money into the local economy.
"I encourage those businesses who are interested in developing new attractions in Noosa to apply for this grant program."
Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said tourism was the lifeblood of many fire-affected communities and the aim of the Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grants (RTBR) program was to get tourists back into these regions.
"We know tourism businesses in fire-affected communities are currently doing it tough," Minister Birmingham said.
"This program is about encouraging international and domestic tourists to visit these regions and more importantly put tourism dollars back into these local economies, especially outside of regular peaks visitor periods.
"These grants will help support the development of unique experiences such as events, concerts, permanent visitor attractions such as art installations and tourist walks, as well as local tourism promotions.
"The development of new visitor attractions and experiences will not only give visitors a reason to visit, but will also give these communities a positive focus as recovery efforts continue."
Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism Jonathon Duniam, said encouraging tourists to visit fire-affected was a key part of the Morrison Government's $76 million tourism recovery package.
"This is a major opportunity to create something that will bring tourists back to our regions, and have an immediate positive impact on these fire-affected communities," Assistant Minister Duniam said.
"Importantly, this is a chance for local communities to come together and focus on something positive, to celebrate what's unique – whether that's their local seafood, their history or local artists.
An expert panel has been appointed to provide advice on the grants program. The members of the panel are:
- Ms Sandra Chipchase – former Chief Executive Officer of Destination NSW
- Mr Michael Luchich – South Australian State Director, Optus and Chairman of Country Arts South Australia
- Sara Quon – Chief Executive Officer of Sovereign Hill Museums Association, Board Member of Visit Victoria and the Committee for Ballarat.
To ensure communities can get access to funds quickly, the first stage of the grants program will focus on grants of up to $30,000, and events up to April 2020 with a streamlined application and assessment process facilitating decisions.
All applications will open on Monday 17 February 2020.
The Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grants (RTBR) forms part of the Morrison Government's $76 million tourism recovery package to help get the tourism industry back on its feet.
For further information on the RTBR grants program visit: https://www.austrade.gov.au/Australian/Tourism/Tourism-and-business/Grants/regional-tourism-bushfire-recovery-grant