Restaurants and cafes in inner city Melbourne and Sydney are the focus of new hospitality voucher programs designed to boost trade in areas still suffering from low levels of foot traffic due to the pandemic.
The New South Wales state government and City of Melbourne have announced support for hospitality businesses in or near to the central business precincts. In NSW, residents will receive four $25 vouchers to spend on food and entertainment, while Victorian residents can claim a 20% rebate on their restaurant or cafe bill.
New South Wales’ vouchers
The $50 million ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ program will offer 500,000 residents vouchers to spend on Fridays in Sydney’s CBD. Similar to in the Dine and Discover program, residents will be able to download four $25 vouchers to use on both dining and entertainment experiences.
Businesses wanting to participate in the program, which is set to begin in summer, must be physically located within postcode 2000 and register through Service NSW to accept the vouchers and receive the rebates.
Announcing the vouchers on Friday, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the targeted program aims to make “Fridays fantastic and fun” and help CBD businesses that have been “hit hardest by COVID” due to a reduction in workers and absence of overseas tourists.
In April, the NSW government recorded 11,000 short term arrivals in the state, which was a 96% decrease on pre-pandemic averages of around 234,000 per month.
Quiet CBD streets are not unique to Sydney, with Melbourne’s new dining initiative also seeking to boost spending in centrally located hospitality businesses.
Melbourne’s dining rebate
In partnership with the Victorian government, City of Melbourne is spending $8.4 million to bring people back into the city and help ailing hospitality businesses.
Diners who spend between $50 and $500 in Melbourne’s restaurants, cafes and bars can claim a 20% rebate on their total food and drink bill. The rebate will be paid to their bank account within five business days of the claim being approved.
The offer, which launched last week, will be available on a first-in-first-served basis until funds are exhausted.
The rebate is available across the entire City of Melbourne municipality, which includes Southbank, Chinatown, Lygon Street, Docklands, North Melbourne and Kensington.
Unlike the NSW program, businesses do not need to sign up. However, they must give diners receipts which they then upload on the ‘Melbourne Money’ website.