As a result of new lockdowns taking across NSW and Victoria, tourism operators in Tasmania are once again facing a large number of financial problems. To combat the problem, another round of travel voucher announced to fight the impact of border closures.
However, the format of this year’s Make Yourself at Home vouchers will look different from those of 2020, as Tasmanians will be required to pre-register in a lottery-style system.
The first two rounds of vouchers in 2020 offered rebates of up to $150 for accommodation and $50 for tourism experiences.
In 2020, during the release of last year’s Tasmanian travel vouchers many Tasmanians felt plenty of anger and frustration as the prospective holidaymakers unable to log on to the website or procure one before they ran out.
There was even more frustration from business owners when thousands of vouchers went unspent.
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein told delegates at the State Liberal Conference in Launceston that the recent border closures to Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia had left the state’s tourism and hospitality sectors struggling.
Mr. Gutwein announced that his government would be funding a $7.5 million voucher scheme to run during August and September.
“We’ll be releasing them, I expect, the week after next, once systems and processes are put in place based on learnings from the first voucher program,” said Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein.
Although last year’s vouchers were redeemable during the October school holidays, this time they will only be valid during the school term.
The Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania said it was therefore important they be redeemable on weekends.
We’re very keen to see some of the parameters of last year’s scheme reviewed and one of them being we shouldn’t limit this to weekdays,” said the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania’s executive officer Luke Martin.
Luke Martin said the vouchers would make a weekend in Hobart as attractive as taking a trip up or down the coast.
He also outlined that there will be an opportunity for people to pass unused vouchers so that less vouchers go unused.
“If we can work out a way where people can return them if they’re not going to use them or make it easy to pass them on to family and friends. The main goal here is to get the money out the door. Simple as possible is the key. We know from last year what worked and what didn’t. It’s not the answer for every business but it’s certainly a welcome shot in the arm” said the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania’s executive officer Luke Martin.
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein also said about $27.5 million in additional spending was generated across the state through last year’s scheme.
Tasmanian residents will be able to express their interest in early August when the scheme is opened, with the vouchers redeemable for travel up until Friday 24th September the start of the school holiday period.
The majority of the money from the vouchers released in 2020 seemed to be spent on Tasmania’s more well-known attractions, like Cradle Mountain. Business owners in lesser known locations are hoping that travellers this year decide to keep their minds open when picking destinations.
“The vouchers are a great way to get out and see this beautiful state. I hope they consider businesses of all sizes because obviously in the tourism and hospitality sector, everyone’s doing it tough at the moment” said Simone Carter the owner of a small accommodation business in the small Tasmanian city of Richmond.
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