Business Events Perth’s $15m boost part of tourism cash splash

Business Events Perth has received $15 million in funding to attract business events to WA as part of a broader $185 million Reconnect WA funding package to help rebuild the tourism sector.

Speaking at the WA State of the State event at Crown Perth, Premier Mark McGowan announced the multifaceted package that targets tourists, skilled workers, international students and events.

“Our Reconnect WA package aims to leverage what we have achieved in managing the pandemic by offering a safe and vibrant place to visit, work or invest in,” McGowan said.

As well as the funding for Business Events Perth, the package includes a $65 million aviation fund directed towards re-establishing international and interstate flight routes that were disrupted by the pandemic, as well as targeting new routes including Germany, India, China and Vietnam.

Business Events Perth Chair Bradley Woods said the business events sector has a vital role to play in the ongoing recovery of Western Australia’s overall tourism industry.

“In 2019, Business Events Perth generated $153 million in confirmed business events with $5.3 million in funding, which is an ROI of 1:29, so we expect that this new funding from the WA State Government will generate significant economic returns for Western Australia and also support Perth’s CBD hotels which have borne the brunt of the pandemic,” Woods said.

Business Events Perth CEO Gareth Martin said the boost in funding will drive a significant return on investment for WA.

“Through the funding of the State Government over the last 15 months, BE Perth has directly supported over 350 local events while securing a pipeline of national and international business events for future years,” Martin said.

“Thanks to the new Reconnect WA funding from the State Government, Western Australia will be able to attract more conferences and more delegates, supporting the recovery of our visitor economy and helping our State become an even more internationally competitive and globally recognisable destination.”

Tourism Council WA has welcomed the Reconnect WA package, which includes $65 million for marketing to attract tourists, workers and international students.

“The Reconnect WA package is a good start to help Western Australia compete with other States in what is already proving to be an incredibly competitive market,” Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said.

“We suspect more funding will be needed for Western Australia to secure events, tourists and workers given the significant investment of competing States.”

Hall said it was critical the Reconnect WA package was extended to include funding to assist tourism businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic and ongoing travel restrictions.

“Tour operators across WA, and particularly in Perth, have been heavily impacted by restrictions,” Hall said.

“These are the tourism businesses we need to regain international and interstate visitors to Perth and then into regional Western Australia.

“Many tourism businesses have been without income from international or interstate guests for close to two years. Financial support is needed for distressed businesses to pay operational costs such as insurance and State Government licence fees to remain open until international and more interstate visitors return.”