cairns esplanade
Cairns has been hit particularly hard by the lack of overseas visitors. Image – Canva
  • Program will cost $3 million
  • Comes after Victoria has two similar schemes
  • Applicants will be notified next week

The $3M program is set to benefit retail and hospitality in the Cairns area.

Tourism vouchers have been the rage recently with Victoria offering $200 vouchers for travel in both Melbourne and regional Victoria.

The $3 million ‘Cairns Holiday Dollars’ program is offering 15,000 vouchers totalling $200 each, which can be used anytime between 15 March and 25 June this year – capitalising on the Easter break.

The draw was only opened for three days, having been closed last night.

Under the vouchers, people can go on tours and visit attractions with the Queensland Government covering half the cost, up to $200.

“The vouchers can be used for trips to the Great Barrier Reef, guided tours around the region, bungy jumping, day spas, and entry to wildlife parks, zoos and aquariums.”

“It’s the first time in Queensland that a government has offered vouchers to bolster and support the tourism industry.”

Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland Premier

Ms Palaszczuk added that tourism operators in Tropical North Queensland have faced very difficult circumstances over the past year.

Before the pandemic hit, more than 800,000 overseas visitors would come to Cairns annually, contributing over $1 billion to the economy. This figure virtually plummeted overnight, with many businesses in the area relying on JobKeeper to stay afloat.

It is estimated the voucher initiative will contribute up to $14 million in extra visitor spending.

Upon the announcement, a surge in holiday bookings to the region occurred, according to the Queensland Government.

Additionally, two-thirds of the 106,212 voucher registrations have come from Brisbane residents.

Applicants will be drawn today with winners formally advised next week.

“The response from Queenslanders has been absolutely overwhelming. But I’m not surprised. Far North Queensland is one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit,”

“I thank everyone who applied for a voucher and urge Queenslanders – even if you’re not successful in the ballot, please book a holiday in the Far North in 2021.

“Tourism operators are doing it tough. This is about supporting local businesses and local jobs.”

Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland Premier

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