Visitor Experience Innovation Grant

The Visitor Experience Innovation Grant has been established to assist businesses in Greater Shepparton’s Visitor Economy industry to implement initiatives that help business sustainability and encourage enhanced visitor experiences and increased visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic recovery phase and into the future

This initiative was part of Council’s Economic Response to COVID-19 Package Stage 3 with this funding forming Round 3 of funding available to businesses within the visitor economy.

Funding of up to $5,000 is available.

The total funding pool of $34,000 is available for individual projects up to a value of $5,000 per project. Funding will only be provided where there is a direct link to a business that supports the local Visitor Economy and in accordance with grant guidelines (available for download below).

The term ‘visitor economy’ refers to the production and delivery of goods and services for consumption by visitors/guests, which includes the industry sectors that directly serve visitors/guests, such as:

  • Accommodation
  • Passenger transport providers
  • Event suppliers and contractors
  • Tour companies
  • Attractions
  • Wellness tourism
  • Farm gate experiences

The term will also refer to intermediaries and those involved indirectly, such as:

  • Retail who have a direct link to local produce
  • Hospitality and boutique food production

How to apply

This grant is currently CLOSED.

For any questions about this grant, please contact Council on (03) 5832 9700.

It is a requirement that you contact Councils Visitor Innovation Grant mentor to discuss your application prior to starting this submission. They will provide advice on:

  • the most appropriate support for your application
  • guidance on development of your application

Jessica Watt
Ph: 03 5832 9874 or

Download the Guidelines

Please carefully read the Guidelines below carefully to prior to making an application.

Council’s Economic Response to COVID-19 Package Stage 2, Round 3

PDF, 683 KB

Background and Objectives

The Visitor Experience Innovation Grant has been established to assist businesses in Greater Shepparton’s Visitor Economy industry to implement initiatives that help business sustainability and encourage enhanced visitor experiences and increased visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic recovery phase and into the future.

Due to the nature of restrictions with travel, essential services and social distancing, the grant is intended to provide support to visitor economy businesses to increase their available visitor product, increasing the capacity for the region to attract visitation by activating initiatives that service the tourism and visitor industry within Greater Shepparton. The grant has the following objectives:

  1. Visitor Economy Stimulation
    To support visitor industry related businesses in Greater Shepparton increase visitation and economic stimulation for the region.
  2. Tourism / Visitor Experience Product Development
    To support innovative product development that enhances visitation opportunities, length of stay and visitor experience.
  3. Private Sector Initiatives
    To support private sector initiatives that complement and grow the region’s tourism product including accessibility.
  4. Tourism Marketing and Promotion
    To promote Greater Shepparton as an attractive place to visit and invest as travel restrictions are eased

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for funding applicants must:

  • Have a business that is located, registered and operates within the Greater Shepparton local government area.
  • Have a valid Australian Business Number (ABN) that was registered prior to 16 March 2020 and be registered for GST.
  • Have an annual payroll less than $850,000.
  • Business must have all relevant State and Local Government permits, licences and approvals to operate as a business within the visitor economy including health, planning and building.
  • Be open on Saturday and at least three other days of the week, school holidays (exemption will be given to Christmas Day, Anzac Day). Exemptions will also be given to Not for Profit entities such as historic museums and those businesses who operate on an “on demand” basis such as tour Exemption may also be given to seasonal businesses (such as farm gate sales).
  • Be open for a minimum of five hours per day on the days of operation (prior to COVID-19 restrictions). Consideration will be given to those businesses who do not have a shop front such as a tour company and are subject to demand.
  • Be listed (if not, be willing to be) on the database of the Greater Shepparton Visitor Centre.
  • Provide evidence of promotional literature/ brochures/ flyers / website / social media that promotes your business to the visitor market.
  • Have tourism as a core business activity and provide a substantive visitor experience (as per description below).
  • Have not previously received funding from the Greater Shepparton City Council or State or Federal Governments towards the proposed project.
  • Discuss the project with Councils mentor for Visitor Experience Innovation Grants prior to submitting their application.

For full eligibility details, please download and read the full Guidelines

What may be funded

Tourism product development, innovation and visitor experience enhancement:

  1. Tourism and interpretive signage.
  2. Innovative tourism product development eg. virtual reality, or mobile visitor experiences.
  3. Diversification of current business / infrastructure improvements that add to the visitor experience (farm stay / inclusion of outdoor dining facility / glamping). Note to be eligible for outdoor dining facility funding project must be permanent in nature and total project cost must exceed any contribution from the state government outdoor dining grant program.
  4. Creative visitor experience enhancements g. Internet of Things (IoT), murals, storytelling, street art, creative art projects.
  5. Interpretive walks / trails infrastructure on property including signage, sculptures, bollards, resting facilities.
  6. Accessibility upgrades g. toilets, ramps, car parking.
  7. Environmentally sustainable visitor infrastructure g. EV charging points.

What will NOT be funded

  • Payment of business rates.
  • Reductions in rental costs, insurance policies.
  • Routine maintenance considered to be for the general upkeep / renewal of the business infrastructure (such as fridges, televisions, carpet, ovens, cabinetry etc).
  • Business start-up costs.
  • Purchase of land.
  • Payment of bonds.
  • Repair of facilities damaged by vandalism, fire or other natural disasters where the damage should be covered by insurance.
  • Operational costs - staffing, outgoings etc.
  • Events – refer to Major and Minor Events grant program for potential funding streams.
  • Advertising, Marketing and Promotion implementation. Photography or videography.
  • Building of website and / or upgrades or improvements.
  • Retrospective funding where projects have commenced or are completed.
  • Statutory fees and other statutory charges collected on behalf of state government or other authorities including development applications, health inspection fees, health approvals, street closures and other approvals.
  • Applications from Corporations however this does not exclude Franchisees (or the equivalent) from making application.
  • Those businesses that have received funding from Greater Shepparton City Council previously and have not provided a completed acquittal are ineligible to apply.
  • Businesses that received funding in the Councils Economic Response to COVID-19 Package Visitor Economy Recovery and Activation Grants Round 1 & 2 program.

It is imperative to note that related party transactions between businesses applying for the grant and the supplier will not be funded either.


It is expected that the proposed activity will be completed within nine months of funding approval (if successful).

Local suppliers

Applicants should consider giving priority to local suppliers for delivery of their project. Applications that include the use of local suppliers will be given a higher priority for selection.

Assessment criteria

Applications will be assessed after the closing date and applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application as soon as practicable.

Applications will be assessed on the following criteria:

  1. The degree that the business is contributing to the local visitor economy.
  2. The degree that the grant will contribute to the future capacity to attract visitation and revisitation / extension of stay to the individual business and the Greater Shepparton region.
  3. The degree that the business has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg. Loss of 30% or more of income, closed doors due to restrictions).
  4. The ability to retain operations and existing staff as a result of the project.
  5. The use of local suppliers (where possible).
  6. Demonstrate a level of innovation that will lead to business improvement (to deliver better visitor products or services).
  7. How well the proposal aligns with current visitor experience and tourism product in the Greater Shepparton region.
  8. How the business plans to market themselves and Greater Shepparton as an attractive place to visit, live and invest as travel restrictions change.
  9. Evidence that grant funding will be used to support the sustainability and recovery of the business.
  10. Businesses’ accessibility and that of the proposal for regular visitation.
  11. How well the project aligns with product gaps and visitation opportunities identified in the region’s strategic plans i.e. Economic Development, Tourism and Major Events Strategy.

All funding decisions are final.

Terms and conditions for successful applicants

Successful applicants are required to comply with the following terms and conditions:

  • Signing a letter of agreement detailing the grant obligations.
  • Submission of an acquittal report evidencing the invoices and receipts for the funding approved and demonstrate how the grant helped support the business in response to the impact and recovery of COVID-19.
  • Provide copies of promotional materials, photographs or videos for the purpose of promoting the grants scheme through Council publications and website.
  • 50% of grant funds will be paid on receipt of the signed Funding Agreement, the remaining 50% of funds will be paid upon receipt and acceptance of a satisfactory acquittal.

All projects must be completed within nine months of receiving the grant funds. All projects must complete an acquittal three months after project completion.

An entity which fails to complete their project and acquittal report is ineligible to apply for funding under any future Greater Shepparton City Council Grant rounds.