A $1.2 billion federal government initiative is set to have Australians jetting off on domestic holidays like never before.
Australians will be able to score half-price flights to holiday hotspots across the country as part of the recovery plan to support the struggling tourism industry.
Tickets with Australia’s airlines will go on sale from April 1 and there will be around 800,000 half-price flights on offer during the program, with travel from May 1 to the end of September.
The plan aims to revive the nation’s struggling tourism regions, and 13 key destinations are already on the list for the discounted fares, with others to be added.
The Whitsundays is one of the key destinations on the list. Picture: iStockSource:Supplied
The initial destinations are Gold Coast, Cairns, the Whitsundays and Mackay region (Proserpine and Hamilton Island), the Sunshine Coast, Lasseter and Alice Springs, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie, Broome, Avalon, Merimbula and Kangaroo Island.
Travellers can score their half-price fares from April 1 on airline websites, including Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia.
The catch is, at this stage, they are all interstate routes. Queenslanders, for example, won’t be able to get half-price tickets to travel within their own state.
However, flights, routes and total number of tickets will be driven by demand and subject to negotiations with the airlines.
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Many of these areas have been hit the hardest by COVID-19 lockdowns and state border closures.
Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia in particular had some of the nation’s toughest border rules during the pandemic, with tourism regions sorely missing both domestic tourists as well as visitors from overseas.
The scheme will also allow airlines to bring back domestic crew after the pandemic forced them to dramatically wind back domestic operations.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the scheme a “ticket to recovery” from COVID-19.
The discounted fares will be available to buy direct from the airline. Picture: Adam HeadSource:News Corp Australia
“(We want) to get Australians travelling and supporting tourism operators, businesses, travel agents and airlines who continue to do it tough through COVID-19, while our international borders remain closed,” he said.
“This package will take more tourists to our hotels and cafes, taking tours and exploring our backyard.
“That means more jobs and investment for the tourism and aviation sectors as Australia heads towards winning our fight against COVID-19 and the restrictions that have hurt so many businesses.”
There are expected to be about 46,000 half-price tickets available per week for the 13 initial destinations, chosen based on their historical reliance on aviation tourism between the months of April and July.
– with NCA NewsWire
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