Hunter businesses have been urged to register for the Dine and Discover Scheme as an estimated $50 million worth of vouchers could be issues across the region.
With some residents already claiming their vouchers from Service NSW, Hunter Business Chamber chief executive Bob Hawes says eligible businesses should waste no time taking part in the program.
Dine and Discover will provide every NSW resident aged 18 or over with four $25 vouchers to be redeemed at local businesses on tourism, arts, entertainment and dining experiences.
“It’s money for nothing – for consumers and businesses – so everyone should get involved,” Mr Hawes said.
“When we urged local businesses to register a month ago, there was a spike in registrations from our region, but advice we have received from Service NSW this week suggested the sign-up rate had slowed.
“As of Tuesday, for instance, only 90 businesses in Lake Macquarie had registered for the scheme – and we know there must be many more eligible businesses than that in the area.”
He adds that customers are likely to spend more money than what the vouchers provide.
“The Minister for Customer Service, Victor Dominello, told business owners at a recent webinar hosted by Business NSW that residents were spending, on average, around $42 when using one of their four Dine and Discover vouchers,” he said.
“An increase in spending of that magnitude would see the $50 million face value of vouchers in our area converted into a boost of nearly $85 million for our regional economy.”
Mr Hawes said the injection of cash would come at a good time, with visitor economy businesses among the most vulnerable to the imminent end of JobKeeper this month.
“A recent Business NSW survey of NSW tourism businesses shows the visitor economy is set for massive job losses, cuts to hours for existing staff and businesses permanently closing once the direct financial support provided by JobKeeper ends,” Mr Hawes said.
“Up to a third of businesses fear closure, while 42% indicated they are likely to be forced to reduce staff numbers and more than half expecting to have to cut hours for existing staff.”
Residents will be able to spend their voucher on dine-in meals, museum and art gallery visit, sightseeing trips, lives shows, adventure activities and much more.
Go to the Service NSW Website or App for more information.