Australians in the Northern Territory are being urged to support their local economy, with the government now announcing $200 vouchers to supercharge tourism.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said his government was “throwing the kitchen sink” at the local economy, with the voucher scheme set to cost $5 million.
Under the plan, Territorians will receive $1 for every $1 they spend on a tourism experience, at a value of up to $200 or $400 altogether.
“We know the industry that was first and hardest hit by the coronavirus is our tourism industry and that supports many other sectors in the Northern Territory. We are going to have a voucher system that backs in our tourism operators, that backs in Territorians,” Gunner said.
“Now, I reckon a lot of Territorians out there think they know their territory, I think there are a lot of things out there that you haven’t done.”
He said Territory Day, held 1 July, is a great opportunity to use the voucher.
“If you’re living in Darwin, I want you to get down the car, head down the track to Katherine, Alice, get out of the car and support locals, buy local. That is what the voucher system is. We want you to get out in your backyard. There is never a more important time to back Territorians.”
He said the rest of Australia is “crushing” coronavirus, so the territory will soon have more support. But until then, he called on residents to back local businesses.
Tourism supports 17,000 jobs in the Northern Territory and adds $2.2 billion in Gross Added Value to the economy, with the territory government announcing a Tourism Rebound Taskforce in early May.
Coronavirus forced the Northern Territory to close major attractions including Kakadu and Uluru in a bid to stop the spread of the disease.
But as the Northern Territory reopens, it’s now considering a “travel triangle” with South Australia and Western Australia.
The Northern Territory and South Australia have zero active cases, while Western Australia has only 28.
“Without increased volume from interstate visitation, many Territory businesses will be pushed to breaking point,” Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce chief Greg Ireland said.
“Typically, the Northern Territory receives more than one million interstate visitors who provide a substantial contribution to our economy.”