“We have been vocal about our concern regarding changes made by Austrade over recent years through the application of Section 46 to Approved Bodies, which significantly reduces the grant opportunity for convention bureaux and regional tourism organisations,” said AACB executive director Andrew Hiebl (pictured).
“The 2015 Review was a one in five year opportunity to take a serious look at this issue. To not include the assessment process of Approved Bodies in the final report or its recommendations overlooks the hard work that our members do to promote Australia to the world in order to attract high yielding international visitors and delegates to the country.”
AACB is calling on Minister Robb to make an independent determination on this issue to restore the Scheme to its original intent with regard to Approved Bodies in the tourism industry.
“Australia’s Tourism 2020 targets need to be taken into consideration,” he added.
“Inaction will force convention bureaux across Australia to reduce their international marketing activity, often in partnership with Tourism Australia. This will ultimately have a flow on effect resulting in fewer international business events for Australia and therefore reduced export revenue.”
However, the AACB welcomed recommendations put forward in the Review for the Scheme to be continued and even increased to $175 million over the next three years.
In 2014/15, the second tranche payment was reduced by 35 per cent due to the higher than expected volume of claims. With the annually capped Scheme being a retrospective grant, there is a lot of uncertainty around provisional assessments actually being realised in full until the end of each financial year, according to the AACB.
“Budgeting in anticipation of a 5 per cent annual increase in the number of grant recipients takes away some of the uncertainty of reductions in the second tranche payment for those that rely on the grant to undertake international marketing activity,” said Hiebl.
To view AACB’s submission to the Review, visit http://aacb.org.au/EMDG.