Victorian Government announces new travel vouchers for regional Victoria
The Victorian Government has recently announced a new round of travel vouchers to help the tourism sector recover in regional Victoria.
Since tourism operators in Victoria’s regional areas were hit hard by the effects of the pandemic, the latest round of regional travel vouchers will encourage the support of attractions and accommodation providers across the state once it is safe to do so.
“The effort to combat this outbreak makes a call on all of us – and we know that means a significant pause in the steady recovery being experienced in our tourism sector, especially across regional Victoria,” Acting Premier James Merlino said.
“We have backed business with announcements over the past seven days and today we’re showing regional tourism businesses and their workers that we understand the pressures they face.”
There will be over 80,000 regional travel vouchers, valued at $200 each, to help the affected tourism sector recover.
The Regional Tourism Support Package will provide accommodation, attraction and experience providers with grant top-ups worth up to $4,500 per business.
Under this package, alpine businesses will also receive up to $15,000 to help them provide a COVIDSafe ski season.
A $16 million investment will fund the fourth release of the vouchers under the Regional Travel Voucher Scheme.
10,000 new vouchers and 70,000 unclaimed vouchers allocated through previous rounds will be released at a future date.
In the first three rounds of the Regional Travel Voucher Scheme, over 160,000 regional travel vouchers were snapped up by Victorians.
As for the Melbourne Travel Voucher Scheme, 40,000 vouchers were immediately claimed.
More than 88,000 regional vouchers have been claimed, injecting an estimated $130 million into local economies.
“Travel vouchers provide a terrific incentive for Victorians to explore their own backyard and we know from recent experience that they will be popular,” Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula said.
The travel period for round three of the Regional Travel Voucher Scheme will be extended by three weeks due to the current restrictions caused by the lockdown.
“Most people understand why there can’t be unchecked travel between Melbourne and regional Victoria at the moment – this support means businesses will be ready to welcome metropolitan visitors when it is safe to do so,” Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas said.
The Regional Tourism Support Package will provide $11.8 million to support eligible Victorian tourism businesses with grant top-ups for the current Business Costs Assistance Program.
Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford said the Business Costs Assistance Program’s top-up payments will give substantial and deserved support to eligible tourism businesses regardless of where they are based.
The Alpine Support Program will invest $4.4 million to support Victoria’s alpine resorts as they prepare for the return of skiers and snowboarders.
Grants of up to $15,000 will be available for more than 300 businesses, helping them in covering the costs of re-opening and implementing COVIDSafe measures.
The financial support provided by the grants will include the buying of equipment and supplies, developing COVIDSafe plans and training staff, as well as defraying everyday costs such as utility bills and rent.