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MICE - Cash for cast of thousands

PLAYERS in the WA tourism industry have welcomed the State Government’s $300,000 cash injection into the Convention Attraction Support Team, or CAST.

Burswood International Resort Casino managing director John Schaap said that, as a major player in the tourism industry, Burswood was pleased to work with the State Government to grow WA’s share of the convention market.

Under the CAST program, funding packages of up to $40,000 will be made available to help with the bidding process for conferences.

Perth Convention Bureau managing director Anne-Maree Ferguson said whereas the average cost of a bid was between $5,000 and $8,000, the ‘entry fee’ or bidding cost was a lot higher when targeting groups larger than 1,500.

The program will be jointly funded by Burswood International, Westralia Airports Corporation and the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

It aims to attract more than 5,400 out-of-State delegates and generate an expected $23.5 million for WA.

The WA branch of the Australian Biotechnology Association has been the first to get a dip into the funding. It received $15,000 to support its bid to host the AusBiotech National Conference in 2005. Up to 1,400 delegates are expected at the conference, generating $4.32 million in economic impact.

Estimates put delegates’ average spend at between five and eight times more than the average tourist, contributing around $600 a day to the local economy.

CAST’s creation came in addition to the Convention Assistance Package, which has been in operation since 1991.

Since that time the Perth Convention Bureau has provided $788,600 to 642 conferences.

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