Western Australia’s regional tourism industry has been given a “shot in the arm” on the road to recovery, with the McGowan government announcing a $1 million funding boost for over 70 events around the state.
From a celebration of wildflowers in Esperance to stargazing in the Wheatbelt, the Regional Events Scheme will help develop smaller and emerging events into tourist attractions in country areas.
The funding support follows the WA government’s moves last week to lift regional borders.
The 77 events supported by the Regional Events Scheme will help kickstart regional tourism into its recovery phase, with an influx of Western Australian tourists set to holiday locally this year.
Events awarded funding for the first time through the scheme this year include Bunbury Fringe 2021 (South West), Get Hooked Fishing Festival (Wheatbelt) and the South Festival (Pilbara).
Seven events were awarded funding under the Regional Aboriginal Events Scheme to showcase Aboriginal activities and experiences, and encourage Aboriginal leadership and participation.
Due to potential future impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, successful funding applicants for the 2020-2021 scheme have been given the option of holding their event at any time up until 31 December 2021.
WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said: “Regional tourism has been hit hard by COVID-19, but we now have the opportunity to capitalise on a local tourism boom, with thousands of Western Australians set to holiday at home this year.
“Ordinarily, Western Australians make about two million interstate and international holiday trips a year, and we expect many of those travellers will instead explore their backyard instead this year.
“Events give people a reason to head out to a particular destination, where they will often find accommodation locally, spend at local businesses and explore the surrounding area.
“The Regional Events Scheme will help kickstart tourism around the state and give our small businesses the shot in the arm they need right now.
Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said: “Regional Western Australia has so much to offer in terms of unique experiences, local food, diverse attractions, and one-of-a-kind events.
“Now it is more important than ever to get behind these regional businesses, communities and tourism events.”
For a full list of the events awarded funding as part for the 2020-21 scheme, click here.