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ATEC calls for EMDG expansion

Broader support needed if Australia is to reinstate $45 billion export tourism market

The Australian Export Tourism Council (ATEC) is calling on both major political parties to include an expansion of the Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) in their election tourism policies as Australia moves to recoup its pre-COVID $45 billion export tourism market.

The Export Marketing Development Grant (EMDG) scheme has for many years been highly effective in supporting Australian export tourism businesses in building their international markets with many businesses catapulting their success off back of these grants. 

But given the program’s limited eligibility, and with many tourism businesses having already exhausted their allocation, ATEC Managing Director, Peter Shelley said his organisation believes that businesses which have already shown their international capacity now need special consideration to support them in rebuilding their markets. 

“EMDG has been instrumental in the success of many hundreds of tourism products as they move into the export market, supporting both small and large businesses to find new growth opportunities in international markets,” Mr Shelley said.

“A short-term refocus of the EMDG program would provide great benefit to our industry and really help Australia to re-engage markets following the devastation caused by the COVID border closures. 

“As we move to rebuild our industry, tourism businesses will need to invest heavily into international marketing and right now they are on the back foot, but with EMDG support we can get back to market faster, working to re-instate our $45 billion export tourism market.” 

ATEC has proposed the following adjustments:

  • Temporary relaxation of current EMDG rules to support tourism recovery for a minimum of two years 
  • Support of merit-based applications enabling businesses which have previously exhausted their allocation to reapply in order to access market restart support.
  • Exemption for tourism businesses from any caps rules/eligibility and open to businesses of all sizes 
  • Provision of additional funds ring-fenced for tourism businesses 

Mr Shelley said given the EMDG program’s success in elevating the marketing of Australian products overseas, the timing was right to be providing this kind of support to export tourism businesses.

“EMDG is designed to encourage new exporters into the market and ATEC believes that at this point, all tourism businesses are effectively a new exporter,” he said.

“Research has shown that EMDG grants produce a multiplier effect of up to $27 for each dollar spent and the tourism industry is one of the most robust opportunities for Australian exports. “With the reopening of our international borders and an industry poised to get back to full operations, we urge both parties to invest in tourism’s future.  

“It’s time for tourism.” 

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