But overseas travel to the state so far this financial year is up almost 400 per cent on the same time period across 2020-21, owing to Australia’s borders reopening.
The long weekend brought Melbourne Airport’s busiest day since the pandemic began, airport chief Lyell Strambi said, but he urged governments to remove mask mandates in domestic terminals and reduce testing for fully vaccinated travellers to continue the travel momentum.
Acting Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Mary-Anne Thomas said the voucher schemes had previously supported more than $159 million worth of travel across the state.
“The travel voucher program has helped encourage Victorians to explore the best of our state, while supporting local businesses and jobs,” Ms Thomas said.
The Andrews government announced the travel scheme and the third round of the Melbourne Money in February after lobbying from the hospitality and business sector.
Diners can receive refunds of up to $125 — or 25 per cent of their restaurant bill — for eating out and spending between $40 and $500. A total of $30 million of entertainment vouchers will also refund people 25 per cent off tickets to theatre, live music, cinemas and events from March 29.
Separately, Creative Industries Minister Danny Pearson on Sunday announced the Art After Dark Melbourne to be held over the weekend of May 13 to 15. Cultural institutions will stay open until 1am with a yet-to-be-detailed special program to help the struggling CBD and arts industries recover.
“We’re just trying to experiment,” Mr Pearson said on Sunday. “I reckon the city is just going to go completely nuts that weekend.”
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