THE Victorian Government’s Regional Travel Voucher Scheme continues to be popular, and the Surf Coast and Colac Otway shires are among the destinations in demand.
The $10 million third round of the scheme was the largest release of the $200 vouchers, and all 50,000 were snapped up three-and-a-half minutes after they were released on the morning of March 31.
More than 46,000 people were waiting to apply as applications opened at 10am, with 82,000 people online at the peak.
People who secured vouchers in the third round will be able to claim a rebate for travel between April 6 and May 31.
Victorians have made about 14,000 claims for round two of the Regional Travel Voucher Scheme, with the claim period ending on Thursday last week.
Exact figures for the second round are not yet available, but preliminary data shows strong demand for the state’s coastal regions, including the Surf Coast Shire, Colac Otway Shire, Mornington Peninsula, Bass Coast and East Gippsland.
Regional voucher holders are required to spend $400 on paid accommodation, experiences, tours or attractions in regional Victoria, the Yarra and Dandenong Ranges or the Mornington Peninsula, and also spend at least two nights in paid accommodation to qualify for the $200 rebate.
The new allocation means 200,000 travel vouchers have now been taken up.
More than 52,000 voucher redemptions and $85 million were spent by Victorians in the first round (for trips between December 12, 2020 and January 22, 2021), with an average length of stay of five nights and about $1,700 spent per voucher.
Four out of five visitors said that they would want to return to the region where they had travelled.
The second round opened on January 20, for trips between January 27 and March 1.
Speaking after the success of the first round, which was also snapped up in minutes, Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine executive director Brett Ince said the scheme would ideally encourage people to stay here longer and try something different.
“Really what the scheme is about is to try to encourage people to consider doing that additional experience,” Mr Ince said.
“We are a region with a collection of many experiences, as opposed to one iconic experience.”
A fourth round of the scheme with vouchers taken up in the initial rounds but not used is also planned, with details to be announced.
“It’s fantastic that so many people want to explore their state and support the businesses and workers that make Victoria the best place in the country to visit,” Acting Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Jaala Pulford said.
“We know that our famous holiday destinations would have been busy over Easter – these vouchers will help to ensure that demand stays high across April and May.”