Victorian Government’s $465 million tourism package includes $200 vouchers for tourists to regional Victoria

The Victorian Government will hand out $200 vouchers for visitors to regional Victoria in a bid to boost tourism in bushfire and COVID-affected towns.

Premier Daniel Andrews has promised $465 million in this year’s budget, to encourage more visitors to regional Victoria as part of the Victorian Tourism Recovery Package.

Victorians who have booked and spent at least $400 dollars on accommodation or tickets to attractions and tours can apply for a $200 voucher for spending money.

120,000 vouchers will be made available from December.

“There’ll be quite a simple process to make sure that you can validate that you had an experience and then you will receive the $200 from us,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the $465 million package was the ‘biggest regional tourism announcement in the history of our state’.(ABC Goulburn Murray: Mikaela Ortolan)

Voucher system still being worked out

Regional Victorians will also be eligible for vouchers for region to region travel but Tourism Minister Martin Pakula said the details of the voucher system were still being worked out.

“Whether it is upfront or by reimbursement is part of the design,” Mr Pakula said.

“I make the point that similar schemes are already in place in South Australia and Tasmania

Another $149 million has been allocated in the budget to building new tourism infrastructure in regional towns.

The bulk of the funding will go towards upgrades along the Great Ocean Road.

A new coastal walking trail with up to five new suspension bridges will be built along the Great Ocean Road, providing spectacular views from Fairhaven Skenes Creek.

Another $2 million is being set aside to build more campsites will also be built along the Surf Coast.

Tourism boost for bushfire towns

New board walk at Cape Conran
Salmon Beach at Cape Conran with a new boardwalk replaced since the summer’s fires.(Supplied: Lisa Pompei)

In East Gippsland, $18.5 million will be spent on improving tourist infrastructure as part of a Gippsland Tourism Recovery Package.

Ten eco-pods will be built at Cape Conran Coastal Park costing $3.5 million to entice visitors to stop along the Melbourne to Sydney coastal route.

Cabins, camp grounds and boardwalks at the park were destroyed in the summer bushfires.

The proposed Metung Hot Springs and Nunduk Spa and Eco-Resort has been promised $2.5 million but it is not known if that will be enough to kick-start the project.

Australia’s largest mainland lighthouse at Point Hicks in a far south-eastern corner of the state will undergo a $3.85 million upgrade.

Visitor facilities at Mallacoota inlet will also be upgraded to allow for the development of a new Coastal Wilderness walk through the rugged Croajingolong National Park.

On Raymond Island, accessible only by ferry from Paynesville in East Gippsland, $350,000 will be spent on a koala trail.

Keeping predators off the Prom

One of the jewels of Victoria’s nature-based tourism sites, Wilsons Promontory will undergo a $23 million upgrade.

A $6 million predator-proof fence will be built at the Prom, stretching 10 kilometres from coast to coast to block access by foxes, cats, deer and rabbits.

Wilsons Promontory
A new visitor centre will be built at the northern entrance to Wilsons Promontory as part of a $23 million upgrade at the national park.(ABC News: Elise Kinsella)

“These improvements at some of our most iconic tourist destinations will bring more visitors to Gippsland and that means a stronger economy and more jobs,” Tourism Minister Martin Pakula said.

Funding has also been allocated to the Mallee Silo Art Trail, the Ballarat Centre for Photography, the Murray River Adventure Trail, and the Brambuk Cultural Centre at Halls Gap.

In the state’s north east, $4.3 million will be spent on growing the Prosecco Road winery district by establishing accommodation at Dal Zotto Wines.

Another $15 million will go towards upgrades to the hiking trail between Falls Creek and Mount Hotham.

The Victorian Government has also allocated $3.5 million to upgrade the 104-year-old Snowy River Rail bridge at Orbost.

The upgrade will make the bridge suitable for pedestrians and cyclists, linking it to the popular East Gippsland Rail Trail.

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Tourists visiting WA’s popular South West must be bushfire ready, authorities warn

Firefighters are pleading with tourists to be fire ready ahead of what is expected to be one of the busiest holiday periods in the South West of Western Australia.

Tourism operators are reportedly fully booked this Christmas, despite the state’s hard border which is finally being relaxed commencing this weekend.

The increase in tourists coincides with the region’s summer bushfire season.

Andrew Wright, the DFES district officer for the South West, said the department was keeping an eye on the predicted increase in tourist numbers at summer hotspots.

“Especially within our national parks where there might be free camping or bush camping areas, and we’ll be consulting with our partners at Parks and Wildlife just to make sure that we’ve captured everybody.”

Water-bombing plane over Margaret River bushfire
A water-bombing plane over a Margaret River bushfire.(Supplied: Christa Walsh)

Campers, tourists prepare ahead

Mr Wright said the most important thing for tourists to be aware of was the daily fire danger ratings.

He said if the rating reached severe or catastrophic on certain days, campers especially should consider moving elsewhere.

A range of cars and caravans lined up in traffic along a regional one lane highway
Heavy traffic on Bussell Highway is common during the summer holidays.(ABC South West: Gian De Poloni)

Airbnb guests are also encouraged to have a bushfire escape plan prepared.

“If you’re in an Airbnb or something similar where you’re unfamiliar with the territory, it’s important that you understand whether the hosts already have a fire plan in place,” Mr Wright said.

“If not that, you need to actually make that plan for yourselves and understand where you can go if need be.”

Jenny Lee from the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association said demand was higher than previous years with more WA tourists holidaying in their own state.

“I would say that there’s been even stronger demand compared to previous years.

“But summer holidays are our peak season and we would normally expect accommodation to be booked out.”

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Sun, sea and naval history – Why tourists shun Salamis, site of a great sea-battle | Europe

PEOPLE ON SALAMIS hoped that their hilly island would be on the tourist map this year. It is the 2,500th anniversary of one of the greatest naval battles of the ancient world. In the early autumn of 480BC, in the strait between Salamis and the mainland, a few hundred Greek triremes (warships with three banks of oars and bronze battering-rams) defeated a much larger Persian armada.

It was an unexpected triumph. Xerxes, the Persian king, was so confident of victory that he erected a throne from which to enjoy it, on a slope overlooking the sea. To his horror, the agile Greek fleet sank 200 lumbering Persian vessels, and lost only 40 of its own. Xerxes “counted them at break of day—/And when the sun set, where were they?” crowed Lord Byron, an English poet, 2,300 years later. The victory opened the way for Athens, which led the Greek fleet, to become Europe’s first superpower. A Hollywood film in 2014 portrayed the Greek sailors as perfectly sculpted hunks (and annoyed modern Iranians with its cartoonish depiction of the Persians).

Yet still the tourists do not come to Salamis. Covid-19 scuttled plans for a big celebration. Tourist visits to Greece fell by around 75% this summer. Only a few history buffs came to view the battle site. “It’s been a big disappointment,” says Georgios Panagopoulos, the mayor.

There are other reasons why Salamis has never become a tourist destination. It is host to a naval base, so parts of the island are off-limits. It is also close to Perama, a scruffy port surrounded by small ship-repair yards. And there is not much to see, apart from two modern bronze statues of warriors on a low mound, the supposed burial place of sailors killed in the battle. Nearby, noisy hammering comes from a large shed beside a pier. A rusty ship is moored alongside. A 50-year-old shipyard on the island’s Kynousoura peninsula is still in business, despite four government rulings since 2010 declaring the area a protected archaeological zone.

This year the environment ministry fast-tracked a new 15-year licence for the yard, whose owner, say islanders, has powerful connections. Clientelism is hard to crack in Greece, but Mr Panagopoulos, a newish mayor, says “We’ll do our utmost to get this yard shut down.” If he clears it, they may come. Greeks have beaten tougher odds before.

This article appeared in the Europe section of the print edition under the headline “Selling Salamis”

Reuse this contentThe Trust Project

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Japan to further ease COVID-19 entry curbs but not for tourists: Report

TOKYO: Japan is considering allowing more foreigners into the country for longer stays starting as early as next month, while keeping the COVID-19 entry curbs in place for tourists, the Asahi newspaper reported on Wednesday (Sep 23).

In an effort to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, Japan has adopted some of the strictest travel restrictions in the world, with even permanent residents unable to re-enter the country without prior permission.

The government eased some of those restrictions on students and business people from seven countries in late July.

Under the latest proposed easing, Japan would allow those staying for longer than three months, such as students and medical workers, to enter from any country, the Asahi said, citing multiple government sources.

Entry would be limited to 1,000 people a day, it said.

Japan has so far managed to keep its coronavirus infections and deaths at low levels compared with hard-hit countries, at a cumulative 79,900 infections and 1,519 deaths.

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Phuket designated as pilot province to welcome foreign tourists – Tourism

PHUKET(NNT) – The government has designated Phuket as a pilot province for the welcoming of foreign tourists again, to help stimulate the country’s economy, after the COVID-19 situation subsides.

Starting on October 1st this year, all tourists entering Thailand and Phuket will be required to follow health and safety protocols.

With the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) having eased the entry restrictions for travelers from 11 countries, the Vice Governor of Phuket, Pichet Panapong, said the island is now making preparations and having discussions with related sectors about rolling out all the precautionary measures.

Travelers arriving from abroad, who want to enter Phuket, must carry a permit issued by a Thai embassy, a health certificate stating that there is no risk of COVID-19, issued within 72 hours of travel to the kingdom, and health insurance issued by the country of origin.

14-day quarantine in designated hotels

Once foreign visitors arrive in Phuket, they have to undergo a 14-day quarantine in one of the designated hotels before they can visit other places. The province will test the operations of hotels, medical teams and security officers, to make sure that they can perform their duties effectively and in accordance with the CCSA’s protocols.

The Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said the “Phuket Model” is tourism in the new normal, which allows foreign travelers to visit limited parts of Thailand. Initially, they will be able to visit beaches within a one-kilometre radius.

After completing the 14-day quarantine, they will have to take another COVID-19 test. If the results are negative, they can visit other locations in the province.

If they want to visit other provinces in Thailand, they are required to be quarantined for seven more days, or 21 days in total. They are required to undergo a virus test again before they can travel to other provinces.

The “Phuket Model” will commence on October 1st, and its progress will be evaluated periodically.

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Zak Crawley scores 267, James Anderson heaps misery on tourists

Zak Crawley and Jos Buttler shared a record partnership and James Anderson grabbed three wickets to put England in total control at the close on the second day of the third and final Test against Pakistan.

Crawley, 22, became the third-youngest England player to make a double century – behind only Len Hutton and David Gower – and went on to 267 before the hosts declared their first innings on 8-583 in Southampton.

Zak Crawley celebrates reaching his double century.

Zak Crawley celebrates reaching his double century.Credit:Getty Images

“It’s humbling to be on the list of England’s top scorers,” said Crawley, who also became the seventh England batsman to turn a maiden Test hundred into a double ton.

“I don’t see myself anywhere near their calibre, hopefully I can build on this.”

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Coronavirus: UK tourists dash home as quarantine rules kick in

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Kirsty O’Connor/PA Media

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Travellers arrive at Heathrow Airport after a flight from Dubrovnik, Croatia, landed

UK tourists have spent thousands of pounds on new flights and endured long drives in a race to get home before new coronavirus travel rules kicked in.

As of 04:00 BST on Saturday, travellers returning to the UK from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago must quarantine for 14 days.

Children in families who did not return in time will miss the start of school in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

But searches for flights to Portugal rose as it was put on the safe list.

Meanwhile, extra restrictions to stem the spread of Covid-19 have come into force in north-west England.

The quarantine measures for Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago have been imposed because of a spike in coronavirus cases in those countries, the UK government has said.

As of 21 August, the UK recorded 21.2 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over the last fortnight, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

In comparison, Croatia had 47.2 cases per 100,000, Austria had 33.0 and Portugal 28.5.

There are currently 17,000 British tourists in Croatia, according to the country’s national tourist board.

On Friday evening, British Airways flights arriving from the Croatian city of Dubrovnik and the capital Zagreb at London’s Heathrow airport were among the last to reach the UK before the deadline.

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Image caption

People wait for planes at Croatia’s Split airport on Thursday

‘We needed more warning’

Adam and Katie Marlow, from Buckinghamshire, drove three hours from the coastal city of Zadar to Zagreb to get a new flight home instead of returning on Saturday.

The couple chose to return early due to Mrs Marlow’s pregnancy and her need to return to her job as a sales manager on Monday. They said their new flights cost about £300, while the car hire was another £100.

Mrs Marlow, 33, who is due to give birth in October, said she understood why the government had taken the decision, but said it would have been better to have had “a bit more warning” as they had only had 24 hours’ notice.

Another Friday, another country in Europe where hundreds of British tourists have frantically had to figure out ways to head home early.

The airline authorities here in Split put on two extra flights on Friday to cope with the sudden demand. There were at least 500 passengers on board both aircraft. All were British travellers who booked last minute.

“It beggars belief. Why was there such short notice for us to leave?” Karen, an English teacher, tells me. She’d just begun a week in Split and was in the middle of booking a ferry to Italy to get out of the country by the evening, because she said the UK flights had sold out.

In the beautiful medieval town of Sibernik, a group of eight friends from Nottingham Trent University had given up efforts to get back early. Instead they drank beers in a harbour-side cafe.

Lou, 20, said: “We tried to get something, but everything was too expensive.”

Her friend Amber added: “It’s upsetting because we planned this trip carefully, and quarantine means we can’t go back to part-time work for two weeks, which sucks because it helped towards my university studies.”

The last flight to the UK from Split airport left shortly after 21:00 on Friday.

Emma from Bristol, one of the last passengers to leave on Friday night, told the BBC: “It’s a fair point that some people might not feel sorry for us, that maybe we should’ve known that quarantine was possible, by now.”

“I wanted to take a risk, and avoid the populated beaches back home, to come to quieter places,” she added.

“I reckon it was worth it even if I’m sweaty and out of breath just to get back home.”

‘I wish we’d stayed at home’

Another traveller, Cristiano Torti, 41, paid about £1,500 to fly his wife and two children back to the UK six days earlier than planned.

He said they had lost about £500 of the original return flight bookings, but it would have been “very difficult” to quarantine with his young children as he and his wife both work from home.

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Media captionQuarantine: How do I self-isolate coming back from abroad?

Mr Torti, a developer from Oxfordshire, said that his eldest child would have missed some of the new school term had the family not returned in time.

“We’ve lost a lot of of money, between the accommodation, the flights, and the knock-on effects: the car hire, the airport parking. I kind of wish we’d stayed home, despite the miserable British weather,” he said.

Meanwhile, Google search data showed a significant rise in searches for the term “flights to Portugal” by UK users at about 18:00 BST on Thursday; with a smaller spike at 07:00 BST on Friday morning.

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Media captionCoronavirus: How to fly during a global pandemic

Several EasyJet flights from London airports to Portugal were listed as unavailable for Saturday and Sunday, while airlines such as Jet2 laid on extra seats to Faro from Monday across the UK.

Travel expert Simon Calder tweeted that the cost of flights from Manchester to Faro on Saturday morning had risen from £50 to £98 in 30 minutes.

People who do not self-isolate when required can be fined up to £1,000 in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In Scotland the fine is £480, and up to £5,000 for persistent offenders.

The UK introduced the compulsory 14-day quarantine for arrivals from overseas in early June.

But the following month, the four UK nations unveiled lists of “travel corridors”, detailing countries that were exempt from the rule.

Since then it has periodically updated that list, adding and removing countries based on their coronavirus infection rates and how they compare with the UK’s.

Have you been affected by the new quarantine measures? Share your experiences by emailing .

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Coronavirus: Quarantine rule changes see tourists race home from Croatia as searches for Portugal holidays surge | UK News

Holidaymakers are scrambling to get home before Saturday’s early-morning quarantine deadline, while web searches for flights to Portugal have soared after the country was put back on the UK’s safe list.

Travellers hoping to return to the UK from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago before the 4am quarantine deadline are – in some cases – paying hundreds of pounds more than they would have before the announcement.

Anyone returning from these countries after the deadline will be required to self-isolate for two weeks.

Tourists wait at Split International Airport in Croatia

The UK has imposed quarantine restrictions on countries with high coronavirus infection rates, while travellers returning from countries on the safe list will not need to self-isolate.

The latest seven-day rates from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for Croatia were 31 cases per 100,000 people, while Austria had 21.2 and Trinidad & Tobago was at 26.

By comparison, the UK recorded 11 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to 20 August.

Google searches for “flights to UK from Croatia” peaked on Thursday at 6pm, shortly after it was announced the country was being removed from the safe list.

Some holidaymakers have complained of a spike in flight prices, while one Twitter user said he had travelled for 16 hours via three flights to get back to the UK before the deadline.

West Yorkshire couple Liam and Jodie said they paid about paid about £800 to travel home from northern Croatia via Munich after being unable to find a direct flight in time.

Liam and Jodie paid £800 to travel via Munich
Liam and Jodie paid £800 to travel via Munich

At the same time, there has been a surge in search interest for Portugal holidays, after it was announced arrivals from the country will no longer need to quarantine from 4am on Saturday.

Flight bookings for Portugal spiked over 2,000% immediately following the announcement, according to flight comparison site Skyscanner.

Jo McClintock, the company’s global brand director, said prices had not increased dramatically for the next seven days, with the average booking on Thursday only £32 more expensive than the previously highest fare this month.

The Portuguese government has condemned the UK's decision to exclude the country from its quarantine-free travel list. Portugal aerial view.
Portugal has been removed from the quarantine list

Google search data also showed a spike in searches at around 6pm on Thursday and again on Friday morning.

Several easyJet flights from London airports to Portuguese destinations are already unavailable for Saturday and Sunday, while Jet2 has added extra seats to Faro from Monday across the UK.

Holiday price comparison site TravelSupermarket also said the price of a package holiday from the UK to the Algarve has fallen by 18% on average in the last month.

But those looking to book holidays should still be wary that countries can be added to the quarantine list if there is a sudden spike in infections.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps faced questions on Friday about how many people had been fined for breaking quarantine rules.

According to the latest available Home Office figures, as of 21 August, nine fines have been issued at the border since quarantine restrictions were introduced.

Mr Shapps was not able to provide more up-to-date figures, but said Border Force will publish its information “in time”.

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UK coronavirus LIVE: New quarantine comes into force for British tourists as businesses welcome back customers in latest lockdown easing

New coronavirus regulations published ahead of Saturday lockdown easing


Fresh coronavirus laws have been published which allow casinos, indoor skating rinks, indoor play areas, bowling alleys, conference centres and exhibition halls to open in England from Saturday.

The regulations were signed off on Friday by health minister Edward Argar.

At the same time separate laws have also been published which ban casinos and other venues in the north of England from reopening while areas are still in lockdown.

The regulations were signed off by health minister Edward Argar on Friday and come into force on Saturday.

The rules, which apply to Manchester, parts of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire, mean the following businesses must remain closed, bar some permitted exceptions:

Nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques and any other similar venues which have dance floors; “sexual entertainment venues” and hostess bars; indoor skating rinks, indoor play areas including soft play areas; bowling alleys; conference centres and exhibition halls.

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