Applications have opened for the Queensland government’s travel voucher scheme after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government was days away from announcing a targeted assistance package to replace JobKeeper.
As Mr Frydenberg arrived in Cairns to begin a ‘listening tour’ of local businesses, the Palaszczuk government on Sunday announced it would hand out 15,000 vouchers worth up to $200 to Queenslanders who book eligible tourism experiences in Tropical North Queensland.
Branded ‘Cairns Holiday Dollars’, the travel vouchers will cover 50 per cent of the cost of tourism activities up to the value of $200, and are eligible for one use only between March 15 and June 25.
The scheme is only open to Queenslanders aged 18 or over, and will be administered via a lottery system that opened to applications at 12pm on Monday.
Visitors can only claim one voucher per person and applications close at 12pm on Thursday, according to this list of FAQs published by the Queensland government.
Eligible experiences include trips to the Great Barrier Reef, guided tours around the region, bungy jumping, day spa experiences, scenic flights, and entry to wildlife parks, zoos and aquariums.
- You can apply for the vouchers here
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Tropical North Queensland had been chosen as the first region to participate in the scheme as it had borne the brunt of the ban on overseas travellers.
“We want to make sure that people across Queensland get to enjoy tropical far north Queensland, but most importantly let’s help people who need the help the most,” she told reporters on Sunday.
It comes as the federal government puts the finishing touches on a targeted assistance package to help struggling tourism operators stay afloat once JobKeeper ends on March 28.
Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) chief executive Margy Osmond said in a statement released on Monday that the lobby group had had “very constructive and detailed in-person briefings in recent weeks” with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Tourism Minister Dan Tehan.
“We are confident that our concerns and potential support options are being closely considered at this critical juncture,” Ms Osmond said.
TTF said in the statement that research carried out on its behalf by Stafford Strategy found more than one third of tourism regions in Australia had suffered at least a 40 per cent drop in visitor numbers over the 12 months to September 31, 2020.