The New South Wales government will invest more than $530 million (US$397 million) into “turbocharging” the recovery of the events and tourism sector.
“This is all about turbocharging our visitor economy,” Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres told reporters. “There’s probably no sector across NSW that’s been more damaged by the sustained impact of the coronavirus pandemic than our tourism industry.”
Ayres said the government was making a strong statement to global airlines that the state wanted planes back in Sydney.
Sydney International Airport has been operating at 1 percent of its traditional revenue because Sydney and Australia had been closed off from the world for 19 months, causing airlines to direct flights away from the country.
The state government will allocate $60 million into an Aviation Attraction Fund to incentivise commercial airlines to resume flight routes to Sydney.
“We should not be arrogant enough to think that just because we’ve reopened the border, or we’ve removed quarantine, that every commercial operator around the world is just going to come back to Australia,” Ayres said.
“We’ve actually got to put up for open for business sign on the ground. We’ve actually got to reach back out to those partners who have been working with us for decades … and say, ‘we want you to come back.'”
As the first state to open internationally in Australia, Ayres said the funding was about telling the world, “We’re open for business.”
“We’re going to be aggressively in the market making sure we get those airlines that have been sending routes to other cities to come back to Sydney,” he said.
The funding package also includes $150 million to support the recovery of major events across the state and another $50 million to revitalise events in Sydney CBDs and surrounding areas.
Most of the package will go into expanding the Stay & Rediscover scheme offering $50 vouchers to all NSW adults.
“This is a huge shot in the arm for the tourism sector. It really turbocharges the recovery,” Ayres said. “There’s no doubt here in NSW its lift-off time when it comes to the visitor economy.”
From Nov. 1, people who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter NSW without going through quarantine. However, they will be required to return a negative PCR test before boarding their flight and show proof of their vaccination status.
A cap of 210 people remains for the number of unvaccinated travellers allowed into the state.