Given the current situation in Victoria right now, with Melbourne still in lockdown, regional Victoria easing restrictions and the source of the cluster’s Indian variant still unknown, Victorian tourism will be in need of support once we’re able to move freely again.
There are currently 87 active coronavirus cases in Victoria, with four more locally acquired cases announced on Sunday including two linked to aged care. Another six overseas acquired cases were identified in hotel quarantine.
As we know, when a lockdown occurs, the tourism, accommodation and hospitality business are hit hard, as travel restrictions stop people from travelling interstate with hospitality, air travel and accommodation being the first businesses that are forced shut.
While restrictions have been eased in regional Victoria, Melbourne remains in lockdown, which means that the entire state still suffers on the tourism front.
Given this unfortunate situation, another 80,000 regional travel vouchers valued at $200 each will be released at a cost of $6 million to help operators affected by the current restrictions recover. This sees the Victorian Government implementing a third round of the Regional Travel Voucher Scheme, with a few extra add-ons, to help support regional businesses throughout Winter.
The package is called the Regional Tourism Support Package, and it includes travel vouchers for travellers and grants for businesses, all in an effort to boost regional economies and encourage tourism within the state.
The $32.2 million Regional Tourism Support Package announced by Acting Premier James Merlino will also provide accommodation, attraction and experience providers with grant top-ups worth up to $4500 per business, while alpine businesses will receive up to $15,000 to help them provide a COVID-safe ski season.
The package offers $11.8 million to support eligible Victorian tourism businesses with grant top-ups for the current Business Costs Assistance Program. This means that all eligible tourism businesses in Victoria will receive a payment of $7000 under the program.
“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,” Mr 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.”
Mr Merlino said authorities hope to “carefully ease” restrictions in Melbourne on Friday, June 11, and further relax restrictions in regional Victoria. We hope so too.