REGIONAL businesses are poised to benefit from a revamped state government stimulus package worth $200 million.
The $200 million package is an extension of Victoria's travel voucher program and includes a new and extended voucher scheme worth $100 million that will provide rebates to Victorians for entertainment, dining and travel experiences.
It will be extended from Melbourne across Victoria with $30 million allocated for rebates on food and wine experiences in regional areas.
A further $30 million in rebates is available for tickets to the theatre, live music, cinemas, museums, galleries, conferences, exhibitions and other events across Victoria.
Bendigo Tourism Board chair Kath Bolitho said she hoped extending the stimulus to regional areas would encourage locals and visitors to go out and about mid-week and boost weekly revenue beyond the weekend trade.
"The extension of the stimulus funding to include restaurants and wineries in the regions is extremely positive, especially when combined with the easing of restricted numbers indoors and the next round of travel vouchers," she said. "These businesses regionally havent been eligible until now."
"(We are) also pleased to see the inclusion of the new entertainment voucher for theatre, live music and other events, and we hope that accessing these rebates will be simple and inclusive for all event types and sizes, as this sector is still experiencing mass cancellations and losses."
City of Greater Bendigo tourism and major events manager Terry Karamaloudis said he was confident Grater Bendigo's food and wine offerings will be even more sought after with the new voucher plan in place.
"This package will certainly stimulate significant new interest in regional travel and boost regional disbursal," he said.
"With so many major events happening in Greater Bendigo over the coming months, I hope the scheme will also encourage more people to stay longer in our region.
"The initial voucher schemes were helpful for the regions. With each iteration of the voucher plan fully subscribed, many people ventured out to the regions where they spent their vouchers. That helped provide a boost to the local economies."
In announcing the extended package, Industry Support and Recovery minister Martin Pakula it was looking closer to the end of March for the regional roll-out.
"We're encouraging Victorians to experience the best the state has to offer by going to see a show, having lunch with friends or visiting somewhere new," he said.
Rebates will be worth 25 per cent with a with a minimum spend of $40 and a maximum of $500 - making the maximum rebate worth $125.
Ms Bolitho said the Bendigo Visitor Information Centre has been working with various accommodation groups and providers to create a simple process for voucher use.
"(It is) backed by a marketing campaign for visitors to use their vouchers when staying in our region, and will now extend this to include the new dining and entertainment offer," she said.
A new $30 million round of the Victorian Travel Voucher Scheme will encourage even more people to holiday at home and spend on accommodation, attractions and tours.
"We're encouraging Victorians to experience the best the state has to offer by going to see a show, having lunch with friends or visiting somewhere new."
"Business and consumer confidence is critical for our continued economic recovery and that's why we're investing in these programs to deliver a boost where it is needed most."
Ms Bolitho also reminded people to be kind and patient as businesses continued to recover and operate with smaller staff numbers.
"It is still very important for patrons to remember that the majority of hospitality and tourism businesses are still operating under an extended period of staff shortages a combination of team members with COVID or isolating, and the dire labour shortage across the sector," she said.
" Be patient and kind as operators continue to do their very best."
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