Australia rolls out recovery market support

Business Events Australia tweaks criteria for partner marketing programme to offer reduced minimum matched-funding

The pandemic is estimated to wipe out A$35.7 billion in direct spending over the next 12 months in Australia. Credit: Getty Images

SYDNEY - Business Events Australia has eased the criteria for its partner marketing programme for 2020/21 to support business events recovery.

New criteria for the Advanced Program 20/21 include a reduced minimum matched-funding amount of A$10,000 (US$6,500), two application intakes in June and December and a streamlined application process.

The programme offers matching grants for marketing and distribution projects that help to attract more visitors to Australia for confirmed business events or attract new international business events. It supports a range of activities such as bespoke marketing campaigns, digital marketing, content creation and public relations activities.

Applications have opened, with the first submission intake open until 1 June 2020 and the second till 30 November 2020. All activities must take place in the 2020/21 financial year, with all projects to complete by 30 June 2021.

"This year, we have taken the opportunity to optimise the programme for COVID-19 recovery as part of our broader efforts to support industry during this difficult time. The Advance Program is by no means the full extent of our recovery plans which continue to evolve," said Ms Penny Lion, executive general manager events of Tourism Australia.

Tourism Australia intends to continuing attracting business events from established source markets in the region.

"Before the onset of COVID-19, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and India were showing a healthy appetite for business events visitation to Australia and we made a decision to increase engagement in these markets earlier in the year," said Ms Lion.

In 2019, the business events industry generated over A$35 billion (US$22.89 billion) to Australia's economy and employed over 229,000 people across a range of sectors and trades. The industry has steadily grown around 6% annually since 2014.

The pandemic is estimated to wipe out nearly A$35.7 billion in direct spending over the next 12 months, with 96% of events scheduled for 2020 being cancelled or postponed, according to figures by Business Events Council of Australia (BECA).

The data is based on a study of businesses across the business events industry, and projects that a further A$17.2 billion in direct value to the economy will be wiped out as a result of the global pandemic.

The council estimates that will be over 92,000 job losses in the industry between the end of 2019 and June 2020. Four in five (78%) were casual or freelance workers, while one in five (22%) were employed on a permanent basis.

BECA is currently finalising an urgent strategy to sustain the industry in the next 12 months in consultation with the Australian government.