2021–22 Financial Year
Part of the Tourism Product Development Fund.
What is the Refresh and Renew Fund?
The NSW Government has announced that $1.6 million in funding is available in 2021-22, to support the accommodation sector in regional NSW to Refresh and Renew their rooms and facilities to better meet consumer expectations.
Due to COVID-19, many people who would traditionally travel to overseas destinations for their holiday will now be travelling domestically to regional NSW destinations.
To assist regional NSW accommodation businesses to better meet consumer expectations, grants are now available to assist regional NSW accommodation operators to Refresh and Renew their accommodation offering. A key focus for the funding will be projects supported by evidence that the proposed work is needed to meet the expectations of consumers.
Regional NSW is defined by the Destination Network areas. More information on these areas is available below, or at the Destination Networks section of the Destination NSW website.
A grant of $30,000 (excluding GST) is available per applicant. The applicant will need to contribute at least $15,000 (excluding GST) of their own funds towards the work proposed. The work proposed must therefore cost at least $45,000 (excluding GST). Applications can be for projects of a greater value; however, all additional costs will need to be covered by the applicant.
What is eligible for funding?
Eligible applicants include:
- Private Hotels
- Guest Houses
- Caravan, Camping and Holiday Parks (Note: Cabins only - not camping or caravan sites).
- Retreats and Lodges
- Backpackers and Hostels
- Bed and Breakfasts
All applicants must be proposing work on a tourism accommodation property that:
- Has between 11 and 99 rooms*
- Is based in and operates within regional NSW
- Is registered for GST
- Has a current GetConnected (ATDW – Australian Tourism Data Warehouse) listing. More information on GetConnected is available on the Destination NSW website
- Is bookable online**
- Is available to visitors for at least 50 weeks of the calendar year.
* The property’s minimum inventory, available in their Property Management System (PMS) (or equivalent) online inventory chart, is more than 10 rooms and the maximum inventory is less than 100 rooms. These rooms need to be located within one property boundary/one physical location.
** An applicant from an area with no or limited internet connectivity, which results in online bookings not being viable for their business, may apply. Information regarding the connectivity issues will need to be provided in the application to support an exemption from this requirement.
Work could include, but is not limited by:
- Fresh paint
- New linens
- Upgrades to the reception area
- New beds
- Soft furnishings
- Awnings or shade structures to expand all-weather outdoor dining/seating
- Improved Wi-Fi
- Contactless customer service technologies, such as, keyless entry and automated check-in.
Please also refer to the Funding cannot be used for section of these guidelines.
Applicants must be able to:
- Provide evidence that the existing product is not currently meeting visitor expectations (such as customer surveys, guest book comments, online reviews, consumer feedback, Social Media comments and so on). Applicants are also encouraged to provide photographs, where relevant, to demonstrate the identified need.
- Demonstrate that the work proposed will address the issue(s) identified.
- Supply estimates or quotes for the work proposed. The work proposed must cost at least $45,000 (excluding GST).
Examples of Eligible Projects
- A hotel proposes to paint the rooms and replace the mattresses. They supply copies of or links to reviews on TripAdvisor, customer feedback surveys, the business’s own website and/or other platforms where consumers criticise/comment on the uncomfortable mattress and marked up or peeling paintwork in the rooms. They supply quotes/estimates for the painting and new mattresses, provide images of the existing scuffed walls and a colour pallet for the new paint work.
- An accommodation property proposes to install a new Wi-Fi system and boosters to improve the connectivity and network speed available to guests and to create an alfresco dining area with a retractable awning to allow them to expand the dining facilities and meet social distancing requirements. They have a range of feedback from guests raising the current unstable Wi-Fi and lack of dining capacity within the motel. They provide brochures of the proposed Wi-Fi system to be installed, the specifications of the current system, brochure for the awning, drawings of the new alfresco area, photographs of the existing area and quotes for all items to be purchased and estimates from the installers.
- An applicant proposes a refurbishment of the reception and communal areas of the hotel, including updating the decor. They supply copies of or links to reviews on travel aggregator websites, the business’s own website, other platforms, customer feedback surveys and guest books where consumers highlight that the decor is tired/rundown/dated. They also provide photos of the current product, and a mood board to highlight the look they are aspiring to achieve with the grant funds. Quotes or estimates are supplied for the new carpet, painting, reception desk, guest lounge furniture, meeting rooms and all equipment to be purchased as part of the project.
How to apply
Refresh and Renew Fund applications can only be submitted using the online application form available on the Tourism Product Development Fund page of the Destination NSW website.
Application Forms sent via email, post or fax will not be accepted.
Applicants are encouraged to read these Guidelines carefully and to answer each question in the application form (please review the Handy Hints for more information) and to provide evidence to support their answers.
These Guidelines and the Handy Hints have been developed to assist you in developing an eligible project and competitive application. Please read all the information and if you have any questions, please contact your Destination Network.
When can I apply?
Applications are now open and will close at midnight (Sydney Time) on 9 December 2021.
Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications prior to the closing date and time to ensure they encounter no technical difficulties. The online application form has built-in controls which require certain fields to be completed before an application can be submitted. When submitting an application, error messages will alert an applicant if any questions/answers in the application form require their attention.
No extensions to the submission day or time will be provided.
Destination NSW is not responsible for delays to the submission of applications caused by technology, connection or other issues outside of its control.
All applications from regional NSW accommodation businesses will be shortlisted by their Destination Network. All shortlisted applications will be assessed by Destination NSW. A recommendation will then be made to the Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney.
Only the information supplied in your application and a desktop review e.g. your website and other online content about your business will be considered by the Assessors in reviewing your application. Do not assume the Assessor is familiar with your property, your target market and the issues your client feedback has identified. Provide as much detail as possible about the issue(s), evidence to demonstrate the issue(s) exist and how the work will address the issue(s). Quotes or estimates from suppliers are also important evidence to support the proposed budget.
Applications are assessed against criteria
Destination NSW will consider the following factors to evaluate applications and determine which projects will be recommended for funding:
- Eligibility requirements (see above)
- Potential for long-term employment opportunities
- Strategic and Marketing value
- Consumer Expectations Gap
- Capacity to deliver the project
In completing the online form, which can be accessed from the Destination NSW website, it is essential that applicants clearly explain their project and supply sufficient information and evidence in answering questions in the form. The Assessors will be reviewing your answers and the evidence you supply to score your application against each of the criteria. Do not assume the Assessor is familiar with your business.
Potential for Long-term employment opportunities
This refers to the number of people employed and hours worked at the business.
Strategic and Marketing Value
This refers to the business’s effectiveness in driving outcomes for NSW. Factors considered include:
- Relevance of the accommodation in relation to the current and emerging strengths as identified in the Visitor Economy Strategy (VES) 2030
- How strongly the business aligns with the relevant Destination Network’s Destination Management Plan
- The impact and reputational damage any negative reviews are having on consumer’s perception of the destination.
Consumer Expectations Gap
This refers to the information and evidence supplied regarding how the business is currently not meeting consumer expectations and how effectively the proposed work will address the identified supply gap. Review your own guest surveys, feedback, comments on social media, online reviews, etc., and provide the supporting evidence of this feedback in your application.
Capacity to deliver the project
This refers to the applicant’s demonstrated ability to deliver and manage the proposed activity:
- Suitable, qualified tradespeople identified to complete the work.
- Identified suppliers for any equipment, furniture, materials required to complete the work.
- Well-considered and complete budget.
- If any proposed work requires Development Approval, supply a copy of the DA (Development Application) including the stamped Council Plans. If your DA has not yet been approved advise the date the DA was submitted to Council and supply the plans that were included with the DA***.
- The skills and experience of the nominated Project Manager(s) who will be overseeing the project’s implementation.
*** Provide a copy of the full DA and Council stamped plans. If approval has not yet been granted, supply the plans submitted to Council and an anticipated timeline for a Council decision.
Terms and Conditions
- Applications for Refresh and Renew grants can be submitted for funding of $30,000 (excluding GST in unmatched funding for activities outlined under ‘What is eligible for funding’. The applicant will need to contribute at least $15,000 (excluding GST) of their own funds towards the total cost of the work proposed.
- One (1) grant of $30,000 (excluding GST) is available per applicant (inclusive of all entity structures) per funding year.
- The funding will be paid upon completion of milestones. The first payment will be $27,000. The first milestone includes the signing of the Funding Agreement, proof of matching cash, provision of certificate of currency (see item h) below). The second payment of $3,000 will be made once the final project report has been received and approved by Destination NSW.
- No funds are available until after a Funding Agreement is signed by Destination NSW and the successful applicant.
- The earliest project start date is the date a Funding Agreement is signed by Destination NSW and the applicant. No activities for the project being funded can commence or money be spent prior to the Funding Agreement being signed.
- An applicant must be able to cover the costs for ineligible expenses and project costs over and above the grant. This may be the applicant’s own money, partner investment and/or non-NSW State Government funding. Where any Federal Government funding is being used, the applicant will need to provide details of the Funding Agreement to ensure there is no double up, i.e. utilising separate Government Funding Agreements for delivering the same outcome.
- At the conclusion of the project the applicant will need to provide a report on the project including a financial reconciliation. Should the project cost less than the grant awarded, a reduced final payment or a refund to Destination NSW will be required, for the shortfall in expenditure.
- Successful applicants will need to supply Destination NSW with a valid certificate of currency for their business for $20 million public liability insurance noting Destination NSW as an interested party.
Successful applicants will need to enter into a legally binding Funding Agreement with Destination NSW. This agreement will set out:
- The rights and obligations of Destination NSW and the applicant
- Destination NSW funding, applicant investment and the project budget
- Where relevant, may include satisfying certain preconditions e.g. any Council DA conditions, independent certification of their risk mitigation and/or community consultations where a project may affect the local community.
- How funds are to be acquitted
- Reporting and accountability obligations, which will include supplying a financial reconciliation and receipts for costs incurred and high-resolution images of the project once completed.
- Requirements for recognising NSW State Government / Destination NSW support.
Funding cannot be used for:
The following activities and the costs associated with them are not eligible to receive funding through the Refresh and Renew Fund:
- Construct, maintain or upgrade transport infrastructure such as public roads, airports, railways and ferry terminals.
- Relocate existing infrastructure.
- Undertake activities that would reasonably be seen as regular repairs and maintenance. Refresh and Renew Projects which include costs for activities such as replacing broken windows, repairing leaky taps or pipes, unblocking toilets, regular services such as lawn mowing or grounds maintenance would not be supported.
- Upgrade or develop meeting and/or local community facilities—including picnic or playground areas, local parks, barbeques, meeting facilities and regional and town entry features.
- Pre-project activities including but not limited to feasibility studies, stakeholder workshops, industry consultations, architectural/drafting and DA costs (including those associated with meeting Council Consent Conditions which may not be incurred until after the project commences e.g. construction certificates, stormwater management plans, etc.)
- Purchasing vehicles (cars, buses, coaches, minivans, etc), boats, tents, Segways, bicycles, e-bikes, kayaks, canoes or similar transferable equipment.
- Purchase of a prize to be used in a competition or trade promotion.
- Buy or lease real estate of any type.
- Engage or pay permanent, casual or temporary employees or contracted staff.
- Pay for work undertaken on the project or items/materials purchased before the Funding Agreement with the NSW Government is executed.
- Provide allowances for or match project ‘contingencies’ in the budget.
- Raise capital funds, provide fund investment, or fund/undertake venture capital activities.
- Duplicate or overlap any other NSW Government grant program funding.
- Attend intra-state, inter-state or overseas based trade events, trade shows, wholesale programs, sales calls, conferences, seminars, travel agent training, forums or fees related to any of these items.
- Cover any other activities that are not directly related to the project.
- The marketing, sponsorship, performer/artist fees, infrastructure costs or general administration costs relating to an event****.
- Start up a business or undertake activities specifically associated with starting up a business—such as business registration, business licences or incorporation costs.
- Upgrade or develop unaccredited visitor information centres or facilities.
- New, or upgrading of, signage for the property either located on the road network or within the property’s boundary.
- Cover administrative and running costs that are normally the Partner’s responsibility—for example, insurance, rent, standard office equipment, telephone costs, travel, accommodation, meals, secretarial support, non-fulfilment postage and other consumables.
- Retainer or contract fees for marketing, Public Relations (PR) and advertising services (e.g. advertising agency, workshop delivery, web hosting services, etc.).
- Development and maintenance costs for consumer or corporate websites and other digital assets, including booking platforms.
- Costs associated with the creation of new content for websites, social media or other promotional marketing activities.
**** Destination NSW provides other support to events. Further information is available on our Events page.
Where to find more information
Further information on the Tourism Product Development Fund can be found on the Destination NSW website.
For assistance in developing your project and application please contact your Destination Network and/or your Destination NSW Regional Tourism Development Manager.
- Download a PDF version of Destination Network Map (1,617 kb)
Additional information on the following topics is available:
- Destination Networks
- Event support
- Destination Management Planning
- Research Statistics
- Destination NSW Strategies & Plans
Information from Destination NSW is provided as a guide only. Feedback is supplied based on the information provided to Destination NSW. Destination NSW does not make any representation or warranty about the accuracy, suitability, reliability, currency or completeness of any feedback provided. Destination NSW provides no guarantee of any particular outcome for your business if you choose to rely on the feedback and no guarantee that your application will be successful following feedback from Destination NSW.
Nobody knows your business better than you. It is yours and your management’s responsibility to decide, based on your full knowledge and understanding of your business situation, how relevant the information is to your business. Destination NSW recommends you consider seeking independent sources of professional advice, legal, financial or otherwise before making any decision. The State of New South Wales through Destination NSW is not liable for any loss resulting from any action taken or reliance made by you on any feedback and information provided.
Please note funding is not guaranteed unless you sign a Funding Agreement with Destination NSW and the Agreement is fully executed. Destination NSW is not responsible for any costs.