NSW to release restaurant vouchers in February and include Sydney's northern beaches

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Pack of four $25 vouchers designed to entice people back to dining and cultural experiences after businesses hit hard by Covid

A woman scans QR code before entering a restaurant in Sydney. NSW will distribute the first of its Dine and Discover vouchers in February.
A woman scans a QR code before entering a restaurant in Sydney. NSW will distribute the first of its Dine and Discover vouchers in February as part of a pilot program. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock
A woman scans a QR code before entering a restaurant in Sydney. NSW will distribute the first of its Dine and Discover vouchers in February as part of a pilot program. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

Last modified on Thu 7 Jan 2021 01.14 EST

The first of New South Wales’ dining vouchers to encourage people back to restaurants will be distributed in February as part of a trial that has now been expanded to include Sydney’s northern beaches.

The Dine and Discover program, announced last year, includes a pack of four $25 vouchers – two to be spent on hospitality, and two on cultural experiences.

The program is set to launch in February as a pilot program with venues in the CBD, Broken Hill and The Rocks.

On Wednesday the NSW government announced it would expand the trial to include Sydney’s northern beaches, which were forced into lockdown over the Christmas break due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in Avalon.

The expansion to the northern beaches will be in phase two of the trial, Service NSW told Hlcarpenter.com Australia.

It is one of a number of voucher programs announced by state and territory governments across Australia attempting to repair industries such as hospitality, accomodation and entertainment hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

In Victoria 70,000 $200 vouchers for regional tourism were snapped up in minutes in early December, with Victorians reportedly unable to access the website when it went live due to the high demand. The next round of vouchers will be made available at 10am on 20 January for travel between 27 January and 1 April 2021.

South Australia’s voucher program has offered all Australians $100 vouchers for Adelaide CBD accomodation and $50 vouchers for regional and suburban accomodation.

The second round went live on Tuesday and 75,000 vouchers were snapped up in 40 minutes, with users again reportedly unable to access the website due to high demand.

The South Australian Tourism Commission chief executive, Rodney Harrex, said the website was getting 112,000 requests per minute at its peak.

“In the first hour of the program, there were 3.1m requests to southaustralia.com – a very strong indication that the vouchers were in high demand, and South Australians are keen to support our state’s tourism sector,” he said in a statement.

“Like in our first round of vouchers, the allocations were spread across the CBD and regional SA. In total, 26,536 were secured for regional and metropolitan SA and 47,883 vouchers were designated to the CBD and North Adelaide.”

The other states and territories have finished their current voucher programs, with Northern Territory planning its third round of vouchers for February, and Canberra planning a launch of its program later this year.