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More SA hotel vouchers to launch tomorrow, amid calls for expansion


The State Government will launch a second round of highly-contested hotel vouchers tomorrow to boost the state’s pandemic-smashed tourism economy, but the Opposition says the scheme should be immediately expanded to also include restaurants and tours.

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The second round of “Great State Vouchers” will be available online from 11am tomorrow and open to all Australians, offering discounts to spend at over 300 accommodation providers across regional and metropolitan South Australia.

They include $100 vouchers to stay at hotels in the Adelaide CBD and North Adelaide, and $50 vouchers to stay at suburban or regional accommodation from January 7 to March 2021, excluding Saturday nights.

The vouchers, worth over $2 million, will be allocated in two rounds for South Australians and those interstate, to ensure that more than half of the vouchers are handed to locals.

SA Tourism Commission chief executive Rodney Harrex said hotel occupancy across the state had been “quite strong” over the Christmas period, but more spending was needed to boost the tourism sector.

“This has been in response to talking and listening to industry and we’ve worked closely with Government to do that,” he said.

“I just want to thank South Australians for getting out and supporting South Australia.”

It comes after the Government claimed the first round of 50,000 vouchers were exhausted within 90 minutes and injected an estimated $10 million into the state’s tourism economy.

However, only about 20,000 of the total vouchers were actually redeemed, forcing the Government to extend its booking deadline date.

InDaily reported last week that the SA Tourism Commission released tender documents announcing its third round of “Great State Vouchers”, to launch mid-March, would include tour operators, attractions, restaurants and ticketed events.

So far, only accommodation providers have benefited from the scheme, despite calls from tourism groups to include other businesses left in the lurch by coronavirus-prompted border closures.

In the tender documents, the SATC wrote that it was “aware local tour operators, attractions, restaurants and ticketed events are not seeing the follow-on effect from the marketing activities thus far”.

“This is also in part, due to some states’ borders being close or in the case of (South Australia’s) Circuit Breaker, other states closing their border to those travelling back to South Australia,” the documents state.

“In addition, some of the state restrictions have made it difficult for some businesses to reopen and trade profitably.

“For these reasons, the third iteration of the Great State Voucher will focus on providing revenue streams for local tour operators, attractions, restaurants and ticket events.”

But Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas has called on the Government to immediately broaden the voucher scheme to include other sectors.

“Our tourism and hospitality sector has been hit hard by the pandemic and the Marshall Liberal Government is failing, once again, to provide broad support to this critical industry employing tens of thousands of South Australians,” he said.

“Now they’re also being hit by a raft of cancelled major events and the narrow scope of the tourism voucher scheme.

“(Premier) Steven Marshall’s first round of the scheme was oversubscribed and underutilised because people saw how narrow the scope of the vouchers were, he’s failed to seriously address this in the scheme’s second round.”

Marshall said other sectors might be included in the scheme in its third iteration.

“We’ve tweaked it (the scheme), we’ve brought in the opportunity for people to come from interstate and we’re getting this out as soon as possible,” he said.

“We’re also looking at a third round, which may include those experience operators, which I know is a very important part of our tourism sector, especially in regional South Australia.”

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