Government announces $9 million in grants for ATEC and CATO members

INBOUND and outbound tour operators and travel wholesalers can access new funding from the federal government, under the $9 million Reviving International Tourism Grant (RITG) program. Designed to support “bona-fide tourism exporters (inbound) and tour operators/wholesalers (outbound) to invest in the rebuilding and strengthening of international supply chains as leisure-based travel continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic” the scheme is open to members of the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) and the Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO), as well as non-members, subject to endorsement from either organisation.

The RITG program, administered by Austrade, will be delivered in two streams over the 2022/23 and 2023/24 financial years. Eligible ATEC members can apply for $15,000 in Stream One, while CATO members can access $10,000, with the measure aiming to support reconnection with international markets. A further $2,000 is on offer in Stream Two to help launch “digital uplift” activities.

Applicants must have taken part in a major international travel and tourism trade show between 2017 and 2022 in order to qualify for Stream One. Funds can go towards participation in similar 2023, 2024 and 2025 events. The Stream Two digital uplift activities includes costs for website design, refresh, audit or optimisation, with the aim of becoming more visible to international consumers.

Applications open on Tuesday 23 May for a limited time, via Austrade’s SmartyGrants portal. More details on the program are available here.

Peter Shelley, Managing Director of ATEC, welcomed the grants program which he said was sorely needed to support the still-recovering inbound tourism visitor sector.

“As the monthly inbound visitor figures continue to attest, our international holiday maker numbers are still around 50% down on pre-pandemic levels and are growing very slowly, albeit steadily. This funding will provide our inbound tour operator businesses with the additional support they need to re-engage with our inbound markets, reconnect with the badly damaged supply chain and ensure we can rebuild our valuable export tourism industry to continue to contribute export value to Australia’s economy,” Shelley added.

CATO Managing Director Brett Jardine said, “it is critical that our members are supported in reconnecting with international markets to ensure a vigorous return of international leisure travel to and from Australia, through specific business development and marketing activities”.

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