New South Wales residents are holding on to more than $326m worth of unspent Dine and Discover vouchers that are due to expire in two weeks, with the government urging people to use them before it’s too late.
While almost 20m stimulus vouchers – worth $25 a pop – have been spent, more than 13m remain unused ahead of their 30 June expiration date.
The scheme was one of a series of measures introduced during the pandemic to encourage people to support businesses that were hammered by successive lockdowns and border closures.
Eligible NSW residents were issued with $25 vouchers to visit and eat at participating venues, including restaurants and galleries.
Tourism Accommodation Australia’s chief executive, Michael Johnson, said the vouchers had generated a lot of business and he encouraged people to take advantage of them while they still could.
“You’ve got that extra money in your pocket to spend on things like dinner or breakfast or other items to ensure that you have a good holiday,” Johnson said.
'[Tourists] have been able to have more money in their pocket, spend more in the location, whether it be in the restaurant itself, or whether it be within the hotel.
After a tough few years demand has roared back, with the main issue now being finding enough staff to keep businesses operating, according to Johnson.
“A lot of hotels can’t fill, a lot of restaurants can’t fill or they can’t be open for their normal operating hours because of the staff shortages," hy het gesê.
“That’s the biggest sort of handbrake on our recovery.”
People have until 9 October to spend their $50 Stay vouchers on accommodation across the state.
Data obtained by the Guardian shows more than $75m worth of the vouchers issued as part of the scheme had not yet been used. Just under 300,000 koopbewyse, of the 1.8m issued, have been spent so far.
The state’s customer service minister, Victor Dominello, urged residents to take advantage of the schemes before they ran out.
“With the second batch of Dine and Discover vouchers expiring on 30 Junie, we are encouraging people to use any remaining vouchers they have this weekend or before Saturday next week," hy het gesê.
Dominello also thanked businesses for taking part in the scheme and for its take-up by residents.
“It’s been a hugely successful program which has helped tourism, entertainment and hospitality businesses in their recovery from the pandemic," hy het gesê.
The Australian Hotels Association NSW’s director, John Green, reiterated the minister’s message.
'[The vouchers] have had a positive impact by injecting much-needed revenue into struggling hospitality businesses," hy het gesê.
“Time is running out quickly so be sure to get down to your local and use the vouchers before they expire.”