Voucher scheme a 'call to arms' to boost tourism sector

Lifeline: A new voucher scheme introduced by the state government is hoped to provide a boost to tourism in Adelaide and regional South Australia. FILE PHOTO.
Lifeline: A new voucher scheme introduced by the state government is hoped to provide a boost to tourism in Adelaide and regional South Australia. FILE PHOTO.

The state government has provided South Australia's tourism industry with a 'shot in the arm' following the introduction of voucher scheme.

Premier Steven Marshall announced the introduction of 'Great State' travel vouchers which could be used on accommodation across the state.

Vouchers were worth up to $100 to be used in Adelaide's central business district, however in regional areas the vouchers were only worth $50.

Saturday stays were excluded from the scheme, as were boutique accommodation providers with less than 10 rooms and operators that provided shared rooms or campsites.

The scheme, worth $4 million, was part of a wider $2 billion stimulus package which aimed to boost the SA tourism sector in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Similar schemes have also been created in Western Australia and Tasmania, with vouchers in both states quickly snapped up within minutes.

Premier Steven Marshall labeled the vouchers as a "call to arms" to support the industry.

"Every additional hotel night booked will result in positive flow-on benefits across the sector, as jobs - from front of house staff to chefs, cleaners and baristas - are supported," he said.

"The tourism and hospitality industry is a significant local employer and we are pleased to be able to support them through this voucher scheme."

The difference in funds was due to a decline in bookings in the CBD since restrictions on travel were put in place, with a limited number of interstate tourists and no international tourists entering the state.

On the flip side, regional tourism bounced back with the lifting on regional travel within in SA resulting in an influx of local visitors.

South Australians over the age of 18 are able to secure both CBD and regional vouchers.

However, the state Labor party were critical of aspects of the scheme.

The opposition called for the introduction of a voucher scheme in June which differed slightly to the one implemented by the state government.

Labor's scheme was worth $200 and was not limited to accomodation, with a tour or tourism experience also applicable.

The voucher would only be available to tourists if they spent at least $200 of their own money on a bookable product.

Opposition spokesperson for tourism, Zoe Bettison welcomed its introduction but said the dollar value of the vouchers were not enough.

"This scheme excludes too many tourism businesses and the dollar value simply isn't enough to give the sector the stimulus it needs," she said.

"Our tourism industry has been hit harder than most sectors by the pandemic, with border restrictions severely limiting incoming visitors."

The vouchers would be available from 9am on October 15 until 11:59pm on October 31 unless allocation was exhausted prior.

They were valid for October 15 to December 11.

This story Voucher scheme a 'call to arms' to boost tourism sector first appeared on Naracoorte Herald.