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What is the Visitor Servicing Fund?
The Visitor Servicing Fund is an initiative which aims to support the Victorian tourism industry to deliver innovative visitor information tools that encourage people to stay longer and spend more across the state.
The Visitor Servicing Fund supports Victorian tourism by providing innovative visitor info tools to extend stays and boost spending. It exceeds current and future info needs, ensuring exceptional service and online resources. With a focus on in-person service and tech integration, it equips visitors for a great experience. Strengthening Victoria’s reputation, it connects to attractions, local businesses, and encourages return visits. Part of the $3M Visitor Servicing Program, it shows commitment to the $633M Visitor Economy Recovery and Reform Plan.
The objectives of the Visitor Servicing Fund are to:
- Support the development and implementation of collaborative and innovative visitor servicing models and processes
- Build the capability of visitor servicing stakeholders to provide better coordinated visitor servicing that responds to current and future visitor information needs.
The intended outcomes of the Visitor Servicing Fund are that visitor servicing stakeholders:
- Coordinate more effectively in their visitor servicing approaches
- Adopt more consumer-centric and region focused visitor servicing models
- Increase their capability to encourage visitors to extend their stay and spend.
The Visitor Servicing Fund will deliver two grant streams:
- Stream A: up to $50,000 (excl. GST) will be available for the creation or updating of visitor servicing strategies
- Stream B: between $50,001 and $625,000 (excl. GST) to support the delivery of major visitor servicing projects.
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Visitor Servicing Fund Stream A funding will support collaborative approaches (with RTBs or local councils as the lead applicant) to strategic planning and coordination of visitor servicing through:
- the creation of a visitor servicing strategy, or
- updating an existing visitor servicing strategy.
Funding received under Stream A may be expended on the following project cost:
- External consultant fees (including stakeholder consultation costs)
- Short term staffing costs associated with developing/delivering the project
- Customised research (up to a maximum of 20% of the funding granted to a successful applicant)
Funding Stream B is for the delivery of major projects that will drive innovation, transform visitor servicing in Victoria and generate long term and sustainable impacts. Projects should focus on the delivery of visitor information servicing during the plan, book and experience stages of the visitor journey.
Visitor Servicing Fund Stream B projects must:
- Support the delivery of one or more of the Visitor Servicing Framework principles
- Align with one or more of the guiding principles of Experience Victoria 2033
- Streamline the provision of visitor information across Victoria
- Focus on key target audiences from a State or regional perspective
- Where relevant, leverage state assets e.g. the italicised i trademark and the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW)
- Focus on the objectives of increasing stay, spend dispersal, referral and return visitation
- Address the ongoing sustainability of the project, beyond the funding period
- Have potential state-wide application.
Projects aligned with existing State, regional or local visitor servicing strategies, policies or Destination Management Plans (DMP) will be highly regarded.
Stream B projects might include (but are not limited to):
- Ambassador projects or programs (local communities, businesses)
- Building digital capabilities of visitor servicing staff and volunteers
- Mobile and other outreach services
- Trip/itinerary planning tools
- The extension or repeat of a previous project, provided the applicant demonstrates how added benefit will be provided for this project (subject to approval by the Department in its sole and absolute discretion).
Applicants must be one of the following entity types to be eligible under Visitor Servicing Fund Stream A:
- Recognised Victorian Regional Tourism Boards (RTBs)
- Victorian Councils, where they are not currently aligned with an RTB
Applicants must be one of the following entity types to be eligible under Visitor Servicing Fund Stream B:
- Company incorporated in Australia
- Incorporated association
- Victorian Regional Tourism Boards
- Victorian Local Government entities and Victorian Government entities, including:
- Public Land Managers, Land Management Authorities and Committees of Management
- Local Government Authorities
- Universities and educational institutions
- Not-for-profit organisations, including community groups that are an incorporated body, cooperative or association
- Traditional Owner Corporations, organisations and groups, and Aboriginal-owned businesses
- Other incorporated entity approved by the Department.
The following eligibility requirements apply to applicants of both Stream A and Stream B.
- Strategies or projects must encompass one or more official tourism region, as defined by Visit Victoria. In areas within these regions that are not currently aligned with an RTB (including greater Melbourne), strategies or projects must encompass a minimum of three local government areas as a joint submission.
- In line with the Visitor Servicing Fund’s objectives, eligible applicants must demonstrate that the strategy or project will be delivered in collaboration with multiple partner organisations.
- Partnerships between multiple RTBs, Councils and partner organisations (listed below) are permitted and encouraged.
- Partner organisations may include (but are not limited to):
- Relevant Victorian Government departments and agencies, such as Parks Victoria and the Department of Transport and Planning
- Melbourne Airport, Avalon Airport, other key regional airports, ferry operators etc
- First Peoples’ Traditional Owner Corporations, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, First Peoples’ tourism operators
- Tourism-related businesses, such as accommodation and hospitality providers, attractions and tour operators
- Local/regional and sector tourism associations
- Local/regional community organisations
- Alpine Resort Management Boards
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Applications close 3 July 2023.