The Indigenous Tourism Fund (ITF) was developed in consultation with the Indigenous tourism sector and includes business support and grants for Indigenous-owned tourism businesses. The ITF will deliver complementary programs to grow the size and number of Indigenous owned tourism businesses across Australia.
Direct assistance for Indigenous tourism businesses
Tourism Grants for Indigenous Business Program
The Tourism Grants for Indigenous Business Program will provide up to $12 million over four years in small grants to help individual businesses and community organisations invest in developing new products, equipment, business planning and marketing in the tourism sector. Grants are capped at $50,000 for a privately owned business and $100,000 for community organisations.
Outcomes from the first round of the Tourism Grants for Indigenous Business Program were announced in July 2021.The large number of high quality applications reflects the strong interest from Indigenous Australians to develop their tourism operations.
Grants totalling close to $3 million will support 60 Indigenous-owned organisations to increase the number of Indigenous tourism products across Australia. A list of the funded organisations from this grant round (DOCX 196KB) is available.
Details of any future grant funding opportunities through the Indigenous Tourism Fund will be available through GrantConnect.
National Indigenous Tourism Mentoring Program
The Indigenous Tourism Mentoring Program is an individualised mentoring program to help businesses gain practical advice from industry experts. The program will receive $10 million over four years.
Through the program, mentors will help businesses develop an industry-specific business plan, refine business strategies and help implement the plan. This may involve identifying target markets, analysing existing demand and potential for new markets, product development, marketing strategies, identifying skill gaps and developing a roadmap for business investment priorities.
Mentors will also be available to assist eligible businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19. This includes finding ways to operate in a COVID-safe way and navigating the range of support packages available for tourism businesses.
Businesses will be eligible to utilise the Mentoring Program if they are an Indigenous-owned tourism businesses (50% or more Indigenous owned) that operate on a profit or not for profit basis. Businesses can access both the mentoring and the Tourism Grants program.
More details to come on the start date and how to apply for the National Indigenous Tourism Mentoring Program.
Boosting the Indigenous tourism sector as a whole
Strategic Indigenous Tourism Projects
The Strategic Indigenous Tourism Projects will provide up to $17 million to the states and territories to co-invest in and generate supply chain opportunities for Indigenous owned tourism businesses. This recognises each jurisdiction’s unique Indigenous tourism opportunity and investment needs.
Investing in partnership with the States and Territories will provide an opportunity to collaborate on Indigenous tourism projects. Funding will be allocated to projects which increase the supply of Indigenous tourism experiences and/or create supply chain opportunities for Indigenous tourism businesses.
The Commonwealth will work with state or territory governments to identify suitable projects.
National Indigenous Tourism Advisory Group
The National Indigenous Tourism Advisory Group (NITAG) will advise the Government on future priorities for the sector and provide an Indigenous voice in the implementation of the Indigenous Tourism Fund to ensure the Government has a real understanding of the priorities and needs of the Indigenous tourism sector. This is particularly important given the huge impact that COVID-19 had had on the sector.
NITAG is chaired by Professor Deen Sanders OAM (Worimi, New South Wales), an Ethics and Professionalism leader for the Deloitte Governance, Regulation and Conduct group. Professor Sanders leads the Indigenous Strategy and Truth and Reconciliation Action Plan for Deloitte.
The Deputy Chair is Helen Martin (Arrentte, Northern Territory), Managing Director and co-founder of the Banubanu Beach Retreat. Ms Martin has been working in the tourism industry for more than 15 years, and has made a significant contribution to NT Aboriginal Tourism. Until recently, Ms Martin was the Commissioner on the Tourism NT Board and Chair of the NT Aboriginal Tourism Committee.
The other members include Mr Tony Coppins, Director of Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari and Totem WiFi; Ms Rhonda Appo, the Indigenous Program Manager at the Queensland Tourism Industry Council; Ms Jirra Harvey, founder and Director of Kalinya Communications; Mr Andrew Smith, CEO of the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council (WLALC) and Sand Dune Adventures; and Mr Robert Taylor, CEO of the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council.
For further information on the Indigenous Tourism Fund please contact your local NIAA Regional Office.