Meal voucher scheme will be accepted in Sydney CBD on Fridays.

The NSW Government is aiming to give struggling Sydney CBD venues a boost with a new $50m stimulus program that will offer 500,000 NSW residents four $25 vouchers to use towards dining and entertainment in the city.

Unlike the Dine & Discover program these vouchers will only be valid at venues in Sydney’s CBD, on Fridays and can all be used in one transaction.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the vouchers will boost the city economy, support jobs and bring fizz back to Friday in the city.

“We have listened to businesses and know that it’s time to make Fridays fun again and ensure the Sydney CBD doesn’t just survive but thrives,” the Treasurer said.

“This will be a targeted program designed to get more people back into the heart of the greatest city on earth and on the way through spend a little extra on retail and services businesses.

“It’s about making Friday’s fantastic and fun and at the same time helping the Sydney CBD which has been hit hardest by COVID with a reduction in CBD workers and the absence of overseas visitors for more than a year.”

Minister for Digital and Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the program, which is expected to go live before Summer, will again be delivered via the Service NSW app.

“The ‘TGIF’ voucher scheme will be a boon for businesses across the Sydney CBD. It will also be seamless for customers to access and use the vouchers, as there will be no need for them to re-prove their identity if they have already downloaded their Dine & Discover vouchers. Furthermore, there will no restriction on customers using multiple $25 vouchers for one meal or discover activity,” he said.

The scheme has been welcomed by both the Australian Hotels Association NSW (AHA NSW) and Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW (TAA NSW) with AHA NSW CEO John Whelan saying it will help CBD pubs by bringing more people into the area on Fridays.

“Sydney’s hotels have been struggling ever since the pandemic hit and are still only at 50 per cent capacity,” Whelan said.

“A lot of people have been working from home during the pandemic and staying away from the city centre. We welcome any move that encourages people back into the CBD to enjoy a discounted Friday lunch at one of our top CBD pubs.

“I would like to congratulate NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet on this great new initiative to breathe some life back into the city centre on what is traditionally one of our busiest days of the week.”

TAA NSW CEO Michael Johnson said the voucher scheme will also boost trade for hospitality businesses trying to survive under the 50 per cent capacity restrictions of recent weeks.

“This is something we pushed for during the government’s recent CBD Summit. Used in combination with dine and discover and accommodation vouchers it gives people the perfect chance to re-discover their city centre and eat and stay at one of our venues,” Johnson said.

“Our message is simple – come back into the CBD, stay a night and re-discover the joys of Australia’s best city.”

Eligible businesses must be physically located within postcode 2000, and like Dine & Discover, the program will be open to businesses in the dining and entertainment industries, but will not be available for use on alcohol, tobacco or gambling.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.