The NSW government will pump more than $530 million into the state’s tourism and events industries, including vouchers to encourage domestic travel and a fund to lure international airlines back to Australia.
The plan includes a $60 million Aviation Attraction Fund to incentivise airlines to resume flights to Sydney, positioning the city as a gateway for international travel to other states once borders reopen.
Another key element to the plan is injecting $250 million into providing all NSW adults with a $50 voucher to spend at accommodation providers across the state as part of an expanded Stay & Rediscover scheme.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the package was intended to bring back tourists and supercharge the businesses and attractions that contribute $38 billion to the economy.
“It’s also great news for people right across our state, reviving events and businesses and bringing our major drawcards back to life,” Perrottet said.
“Importantly, more than 300,000 people rely on our tourism industry and our aim is to reclaim our position as one of the world’s favourite destinations.”
The plan will also include a marketing element, with a $10 million recovery campaign including an extension of the road trips campaign launched in 2020.
For the events and business travel sector, the plan dedicates $150 million to support the recovery of major event activity across the state, including $50 million for a Regional Events Package to support major events, festivals, agricultural shows and community events across the regions.
Importantly, an Event Saver Fund will provide immediate support to organisers if events are cancelled or disrupted by any public health orders during the 2021-22 summer; however, the state government has not specified how much money will go towards the fund.
The plan will also put $6 million towards attracting business events to cities, $50 million into a CBDs Revitalisation Program and $25 million into a Festival Relaunch package to stabilise established commercial and not-for-profit festivals, big and small, so they can program with confidence into 2022-23.
However, Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) chief executive Dean Long said that while the package is a positive step in the right direction, more support is needed to ensure travel agents get a slice of the revival pie.
“The road to recovery for Australia’s travel sector… is a long one,” he said.
“Travel expertise to navigate the complexities of COVID-travel is needed now more than ever and, as events and tourism begin to ramp up again, travel agents will be essential.
“Australia’s travel agents and businesses have been in hard lockdown for more than 600 days, and until airlines and cruise capacity return to normal levels, which won’t be before the second quarter of 2022, we will need support.
“The 30,000 Australians who work in Australia’s travel sector and the 3,000 agencies and businesses who employ them urgently need ongoing government help so we can keep providing the expert support travellers need as tourism gets back on track and recovers.”
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