Port Stephens residents are being urged to apply for the state government's new Dine and Discover NSW vouchers.
The vouchers - worth $100 per eligible person - are designed to encourage the communities across NSW to get out and about and support dining, arts and tourism businesses and stimulate spending in the economy.
Port Stephens residents aged 18 years and over can now apply through Service NSW for their two $25 dining vouchers and two $25 entertainment, recreation and events/activities vouchers, which can be used at participating Port Stephens and NSW businesses that have registered for the program.
The vouchers are a great stimulus for the Port Stephens economy, according to Business Port Stephens president Leah Anderson.
"We encourage the local community to use their vouchers at participating Port Stephens businesses. If 10,000 residents redeem their vouchers in Port Stephens this will contribute $1 million to the local economy which will support our local businesses and local jobs," said Ms Anderson.
Vouchers can be used at participating cafes, bistros and restaurants which can be found in various locations across Port Stephens including Nelson Bay, Shoal Bay, Salamander Bay, Soldiers Point, Anna Bay, Raymond Terrace, Medowie, Lemon Tree Passage, Tanilba Bay and Karuah.
Eileen Gilliland, CEO at Destination Port Stephens, said that a large number of the Port's popular tourism attractions - including Moonshadow-TQC Cruises, Oakvale Wildlife Park, Toboggan Hill Park, 4WD Tours R Us, Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters and Fighter World - would be participating in the scheme.
"The past year hasn't been easy for our hospitality and tourism attractions and tours. Temporary closures and then often operating at limited capacity have had a sizeable impact," Ms Gilliland said.
"Port Stephens and NSW residents have until June 30, 2021, to use their vouchers and there is no better time to get out and about, dine at a local cafe or restaurant or discover some of the incredible experiences offered by our local tourism attractions and tour/cruise operators."
Oakvale Wildlife Park business development manager Elyss Larkham said that the popular attraction had seen a number of Sydney visitors presenting with the vouchers since they became available on March 11.
"It is a very simple process. Vouchers, which are available via a Service NSW app or through a printout, are presented on arrival and scanned, giving the owners a $25 discount," she said.
"We have received strong positive feedback, with people saying it allowed them to expand their visit and purchasing power. This is great for tourism and great for the economy.
"It is also great for locals by allowing them to explore more attractions in their own backyard."
The Hunter Business Chamber estimates that the scheme will inject around $50 million into the Hunter economy, based on the number of eligible residents across the region.
"Most customers are likely to spend much more than the voucher provides," Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said.
"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.
"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."
Some of the Nelson Bay business participating in the Dine and Discover NSW voucher scheme are:
- Bay Hut Cafe
- Blueys Bar and Grill
- Sienna's Pizzeria Bar & Restaurant
- Little Nel
- Wests Nelson Bay
- Naked Alley
- Seabreeze Hotel
Some of the Tanilba Bay business participating in the Dine and Discover NSW voucher scheme are:
- Tilli Thai Restaurant
- Wats-On The Menu Catering
Some of the Raymond Terrace business participating in the Dine and Discover NSW voucher scheme are::
- River House Cafe
- Red Eye Cafe
- Terrace Bake and Break
- The Junction Inn Bistro
- Grounds Kitchen and Play
- Raymond Terrace Bowling Club
- Scotty's Cinema Centre
- Michel's Patisserie
Some of the Medowie business participating in the Dine and Discover NSW voucher scheme are::
- Active Diner
- Medowie Social
- Little Pantry Co
Residents can find what businesses are participating in the scheme through Service NSW by searching by postcode.
Port residents can apply for their vouchers online if they have (or can create) a MyServiceNSW account at www.account.service.nsw.gov.au, by calling 13 77 88 or visit their Service NSW centre with their proof of identity documents (licence and Medicare).
For businesses to participate, register online at nsw.gov.au/covid-19/dine-discover-nsw/dine-discover-nsw-business-registration.