Back in March, every adult in NSW became eligible to receive a Dine & Discover voucher, which is basically a $100 voucher split into four $25 vouchers, two for food use (dine) and two for entertainment and tourism venues (discover).
Although almost 17 million Dine & Discover vouchers have been downloaded since March, not many have been actually used. Around five million have been spent on dining, over one million on movies, and around 370,000 have been used on outings like art galleries and museums. These might sound like impressive numbers, but given that 17 million have been downloaded, only a fraction – under 40% – of downloaded vouchers have been used.
Given these stats, it makes sense that the NSW government is extending the Dine & Discover vouchers for an extra month. The vouchers will now expire after July 31.
But why aren’t people using these Dine & Discover vouchers? They were designed with the hope that people would venture out of their comfort zones, try something new the city has to over and give back to the businesses that have struggled throughout COVID-19.
One theory as to why the vouchers weren’t as popular as the NSW government hoped, was that they were too ‘city-centric’. According to ABC Central West, regional communities are claiming Dine & Discover “does not help business in the bush” as no businesses in regional towns, or even regional centres, are part of the program.
The other thought was that even in larger cities, small businesses aren’t the ones profiting; vouchers, instead, are being spent at fast-food giants. According to 9News, companies like McDonald’s, Oporto, and KFC are seeing the vouchers spent in their stores — even though the program was touted to encourage people to support local.
These are valid concerns, however, it seems to us that these vouchers are to be used independently (on whatever you want) and although $25 isn’t a huge amount of cash to spend, it’s definitely enough for an exhibition ticket or a main dish at a new restaurant or sustainable bar.
“People of all ages and walks of life are giving them a go and we don’t want anyone to miss out,” NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said in a statement on Wednesday morning.
“This extension will ensure everyone has a chance to use all four of their vouchers, which I’m sure will be particularly handy in the school holidays.”
With the extension of Dine & Discover set to run until the end of the school holidays, we can’t see any reason not to put them to good use.
You can download your voucher here.