THE regional tourism industry has welcomed a $48.5 million grant program after Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson opened the regional fund for applications on Tuesday.
The fund was the result of budget negotiations in May between the government and crossbenchers aimed at helping regional areas struggling to attract overseas tourists.
It will go towards small infrastructure projects in regional areas of between $50,000 and $250,000, such as kiosks, boat ramps and caravan parks.
Accommodation Association of Australia chief executive Richard Munro said the fund would give regional areas a "big push" to achieving the government's Tourism 2020 objectives.
"Although there are a number of hotels, motels and apartments in regional areas which already have refurbished or new facilities, grants from the fund are an opportunity for other businesses to undertake capital expenditure to improve their offering," he said.
"The association is actively encouraging our members to make the most of this important initiative."
He said the fund would provide particular help to those areas where visitor numbers fluctuate depending on the time of year.
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