A NSW voucher program would incentivise locals to experience their own city while helping local businesses.

New South Wales should introduce a subsidised holiday voucher incentive scheme to boost the struggling tourism accommodation sector and get Sydneysiders moving about their state, Tourism Accommodation Australia said.

The renewed calls come following the latest TAA NSW Board meeting, which looked at the success of similar schemes run in Tasmania and the Northern Territory, which offer partial rebates to intrastate travellers booking hotels and attractions around their state. A similar program has since been adopted in South Australia.

Territorians can see parts of their state via the government holiday rebate scheme.

TAA National and NSW CEO, Michael Johnson, said he had been in discussions with NSW Tourism Minister, Stuart Ayres, about such a proposal.

“A holiday voucher scheme is the number one thing we need to get people out and about and experiencing what this great city has to offer,” Johnson said.

“While regional areas like the Blue Mountains, Byron and Hunter are starting to experience larger tourist numbers – especially during the recent school holidays – the Sydney CBD and Greater Western Sydney tourism accommodation sectors remain crippled by the impact of the pandemic.

A holiday voucher scheme will encourage Sydneysiders to enjoy a city ‘Staycation’.

“Anything we can do to promote holidays in Sydney and Greater Sydney needs to be done as soon as possible, with room occupancy rates in these areas well under 20 percent for months now.”

Johnson welcomed the state government’s push of a recent Destination NSW campaign entitled ‘Love it like you mean it’, which aims to get Sydneysiders out and about enjoying the attractions of their city.

“There hasn’t been a better time to enjoy what we have without the usual crowds of international tourists,” Johnson added.