Aussie state offers vouchers to boost entertainment business

Xinhua News,SYDNEY
2020-11-17 13:55

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SYDNEY, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) launched its "Out & About" scheme on Tuesday, offering digital vouchers for residents to support the hospitality and entertainment sector.

Each NSW resident will be eligible for digital vouchers totalling 100 Australian dollars (73 U.S. dollars), half of which must be spent on food at restaurants, cafes and other venues, and the other half on entertainment such as live performances, cinemas and amusement parks.

"No industry has felt the economic impacts of COVID-19 more than the hospitality, arts and tourism industries," NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.

NSW recorded its 10th day of zero local infections on Tuesday, meaning many businesses were functioning with COVID-19 restrictions in place. However, reduced foot traffic and tourist numbers continued to have a significant impact on businesses' revenue.

Every NSW resident aged 18 and over will be eligible for the scheme, which has been valued at 500 million Australian dollars (366 million U.S. dollars).

The vouchers cannot be used on retail, alcohol, gambling or cigarettes and can only be used at businesses which sign on for the scheme.

NSW is not the first jurisdiction to offer such stimulus during the pandemic, with Britain's "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme launching back in August and offering diners 50 percent off meals on Monday through Wednesday.

"This program is ambitious and the first of its kind in Australia," NSW Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said.

"The government will run a pilot scheme to make sure we can iron out any issues before launching 'Out & About' across NSW in the new year."
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