The Victorian government has announced a $32.2 million support package for local tourism businesses ahead of the Queen’s Birthday weekend.
Victoria’s extended lockdown has hit regional tourism businesses hard. The stimulus aims to directly assist businesses, including accommodation providers, attractions and experiences. The state’s current restrictions are scheduled to end on Thursday, June 10.
“Over the week, we have announced over $460 million of business support, and promised that we would come back to provide additional support to tourism and accommodation operators,” Deputy Premier of Victoria James Merlino said during a press conference on Tuesday.
On May 30, the government announced a support package worth $250.7 million for small and medium businesses (SMEs). The new announcement brings the total business funding relief by the state to $492.2 million.
The Regional Tourism Support Package includes three initiatives to support tourism businesses. These include:
- Regional Travel Voucher Scheme to encourage Victorians to support regional tourism operators
- Business Costs Assistance Program Tourism Supplement to provide extra support
- Alpine Support Program for businesses in six alpine resorts and Dinner Plain
Business Costs Assistance Program – Supplement
The Tourism Supplement adds $11.8 million to support eligible Victorian tourism businesses. Eligible tourism businesses will now receive a total grant of $7,000 as part of the program’s second round.
The grant is aimed at businesses in metropolitan Melbourne that are hit hardest due to lockdowns. These include restaurants and cafes, hotels and non-essential retailers who are unable to operate at all.
Earlier, the government decided to double the funding under the business costs assistance program from $2,500 to $5,000 in total.
Regional Travel Voucher Scheme
The Regional Travel Voucher Scheme will provide an incentive to visitors for exploring the state. Eligible Victorians will have access to 80,000 travel vouchers valued at $200 each to travel across the state’s regions.
Alpine Support Program
The $4.4 million Alpine Support Program will support businesses at Victoria’s six alpine resorts, Dinner Plain, and key businesses located off the mountain in the surrounding towns impacted by restrictions.
This package will provide businesses with up to $15,000 grants. Off-mountain alpine related businesses such as equipment hire, transport companies and tour providers may be eligible for $5,000 grants.
On track to ease restrictions
Mr Merlino reassured Victorians that the state is still on track for eased restrictions by Friday.
“Thanks to their (contact tracing team) outstanding work, we remain on track to later in this week announce, as we have said we planned to do all along, further easings of restrictions in regional Victoria and careful easings of restrictions in Melbourne,” he said.
Victoria recorded two new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, June 8, bringing the total tally of active cases to 92.