Another round of tourism vouchers will be released to encourage Victorians to support the industry, but some question how effective the one-size-fits-all approach will be.
The $32.2 million push, announced by the state government on Sunday, could help jump-start tourism operators and accommodation providers left floundering after the extended "circuit breaker" lockdown, with 80,000 $200 vouchers on offer, as well as grants of $4500 per business and additional support in alpine areas.
For many businesses in regional areas still struggling, the lack of metropolitan visitors coming through during the long weekend couldn't have come at a worse time - in Ballarat, the cancellation of the annual junior basketball tournament alone will be a $4.5 million hit to the city's economy.
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Ballarat Regional Tourism's new chair, Paul Martino, said the grants will not be enough for many larger businesses, and while the vouchers could have a strong effect, it'll be some weeks before they are used.
"It's part of the jigsaw of support required - and we appreciate that - but one thing we're really conscious of at the moment is there seems to be a level of landlord support fatigue for businesses," he said.
"The $4500 business support payments, on top of $2500, is a one-size-fits-all approach, and some businesses have much higher rent bills and fixed costs than others.
"We call on the state government to provide a nuanced method, for scaled support for the business community, not one-size-fits-all."
Ballarat's visitor economy is still "more fragile than people think," he said, and based on data from the February snap lockdown, it can take six to eight weeks for businesses to recover.
"Coming out of lockdown, things don't snap back like a rubber band, we're talking about the confidence level of consumers, and that has an effect on the viability of a business," he said.
"On a local level, what we're seeing for the visitor economy, and hospitality businesses, is the fourth lockdown is like the straw that broke the camel's back, financially and in terms of mental health and overall anxiety levels in the business community."
Ballarat Regional Tourism, with the Committee for Ballarat and Commerce Ballarat, have called for more restrictions in regional Victoria to be eased faster, again criticising the one-size-fits-all approach.
In the meantime, the city is working on several initiatives to attract visitors back for the winter school holidays - Sovereign Hill's famous Winter Wonderlights, for example, will be a key part.
"Given where we stand today with who can travel to Ballarat, we're really encouraging the locals to experience Ballarat, and their friends and relatives from regional Victoria to do the same," he said.
"We need Ballarat to embrace the opportunity to help support our businesses."
The announcement was welcomed by statewide bodies, including the Victorian Tourism Industry Council, but noted it only covered "a fraction" of the damage wrought by the extended lockdown.
To apply for a voucher, head online - a release date has not yet been announced.