Australia’s Tourism Minister Dan Tehan has been grilled by 2GB radio host Ben Fordham over a lack of regional NSW destinations offered up as part of the government’s heavily-discounted airfare scheme to boost tourism.
The government estimates it will offer about 800,000 half-price plane tickets to destinations such as the Gold Coast, Cairns, Alice Springs and Launceston. Despite the scale of the package, there is currently only one route available to NSW under the scheme travelling from Melbourne to Merimbula, compared to 13 to Queensland.
“Nearly all the support is going to Queensland, while NSW appears to be dudded,” Ben Fordham said.
Mr Teehan defended the package, claiming the flights were chosen based on locations hardest hit by international border closures.
“We’ve got to remember some regions, particularly Byron Bay, have done exceptionally well through the pandemic.”
“What we’ve done is we’ve had to step in and support those locations which predominantly have international tourist fly to them, which have been incredibly hard hit by this pandemic and which are a distance of three, four or five hours away from a capital city and really need our support.”