The Palaszczuk Government is offering 15,000 Queenslanders a free $200 travel voucher to spend on tourism experiences when they holiday in the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region over the next four months.
The special deal launched today gives people three days from 8 – 11 March to enter the draw to secure one of the vouchers which they can use anytime between the 15 March – 25 of June this year.
The big give away aims to boost visitor numbers in the Far Northern Region hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of international travellers.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Tropical North is an ideal place for an Easter break or people could take a weeklong break around some of the other upcoming public and April school holidays.
“Our Cairns Holiday Dollars offer will be rushed as similar schemes in other states have been heavily oversubscribed,” the Premier said.
“The vouchers give people the chance to go on tours and experience some of the attractions in the Far North and we’ll cover 50 per cent of the cost, up to $200.
“The vouchers can be used for trips to the Great Barrier Reef, guided tours around the region, bungy jumping, day spas, and entry to wildlife parks, zoos and aquariums.
“It’s the first time in Queensland that a government has offered vouchers to bolster and support the tourism industry.
“But these are extraordinary times and Tropical North Queensland tourism operators have done it very tough over the last twelve months.
“It’s expected the initiative could generate an extra visitor spend of up to $14 million for the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef economy.
“If the $3 million plus promotion, in partnership with Tourism Tropical North Queensland proves a success it could well be rolled-out for the Gold Coast, the Whitsundays and Brisbane.
“This is just another way to help keep local businesses afloat and safeguard jobs in the tourism industry.
“We want to motivate as many Queenslanders as possible to head to the Far North. To get out and about and explore what the region offers.
“With Easter and the cooler months approaching, there’s never been a better time to plan a holiday to Cairns or Port Douglas.
“From the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, to the beauty of the ancient rainforest and world-renowned Indigenous experiences, there’s so much to see and do in Tropical North Queensland.
“Some of the best deals in the state are available on TEQ’s website at Queensland.com. So, jump online and start planning your holiday.”
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Cairns and Port Douglas were world-famous for their warm Far North Queensland hospitality.
“The Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef region has always been a popular gateway destination for international visitors,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 800,000 overseas visitors had landed in Cairns every year and contributed more than $1 billion to the region’s economy.
“To have almost a third of your visitor economy wiped out by COVID’s closure of the international border is a big hit in anybody’s language.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s travel vouchers are the perfect excuse for Queenslanders to pack a bag this Easter and discover why the Far North has an impeccable international visitor reputation.
“By spoiling yourself with an unforgettable Cairns tropical holiday, you’ll be supporting jobs and helping Queensland tourism rebuild better.
“Supporting Queenslanders is what Queenslanders do.”
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said rebuilding the tourism industry was an important part of the government’s economic recovery plan for Tropical North Queensland.
“This strategy will pump millions of dollars into local businesses which is exactly what we need right now,” he said.
“We know that once people get a taste of Tropical North Queensland, they can’t get enough.
“Incentivising tourists to travel to the Tropical North won’t only deliver a great return for operators in the short-term, it will help us to grow our domestic visitor base long into the future.”
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen welcomed the Cairns Holiday Dollars as an incentive for visitors to add an additional experience to their Cairns and Great Barrier Reef holiday.
“Our region’s diverse tourism experiences showcasing two World Heritage areas have helped turn the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region into an international destination,” he said.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Queenslanders to discover that you can experience the Great Barrier Reef with an Indigenous sea ranger, see the world’s oldest rainforest while floating on a raft or go jet boating alongside the city.”
Vouchers will be available for use from March to June 2021. Registrations of interest are open from tomorrow (Monday 8 March) at Queensland.com
Eligible tourism experiences could include boat or bus tours, other on-land or marine tourism experiences, reef experiences, scenic flights, short day trips, multi-day tours, spa experiences, galleries and exhibitions.