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Holiday-starved Australians can get their hands on half-price flights that will go on sale on Thursday as part of an unprecedented package to boost the ailing tourism sector.
Interstate tickets to and from 13 holiday hotspots will be subsidised by the federal government under its $1.2billion plan until July 31.
Airlines will ramp up their flight schedules to deal with an expected surge in demand over the next three months.
The locations on offer are the Gold Coast, Cairns, the Whitsundays and Mackay region (including Proserpine and Hamilton Island), the Sunshine Coast, Lasseter and Alice Springs, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie, Broome, Avalon, Merimbula, and Kangaroo Island.
The tickets are for trips booked between April 1 and September 30 with around 46,000 discounted airfares on offer each week.
Australians can get their hands on half price tickets to a variety of holiday spots around the country from Thursday (pictured Elyse Knowles in the Whitsundays)
Holidaymakers can nab the tickets by going on to Qantas, Jetstar or Virgin websites or through travel agents.
The fares will be for economy travel only.
The government initially expected around 800,000 discounted tickets to be bought, but there will be no limits on the number of seats passengers can buy.
The half priced fares mean a one-way flight currently going from Sydney to Hamilton Island could be as little as $75.
The same deal from Melbourne to Kangaroo Island in South Australia could be available at $130, while a single flight from Sydney to Broome could be discounted to $396.
The areas involved have been chosen because they rely on tourism for their wealth and are particularly dependent on aviation for their visitor numbers.
The scheme is part of a huge bail-out package for the tourism sector which employs 611,000 Australians and has been crippled by the Covid-induced international border shutdown.
But a worrying outbreak of coronavirus cases in Queensland and New South Wales could throw many travel plans out the window.
Brisbane recorded two more locally acquired cases on Wednesday after eight new infections were found on Tuesday.
Premier Annastacia Palasczcuk said the lower cases on Wednesday raised hopes Brisbane’s three-day lockdown may end on time at 5pm on Thursday – but refused to rule out an extension.
The tickets are for trips booked between April 1 and September 30 with around 46,000 discounted airfares on offer each week (pictured Broome in WA)
Around 46,000 half priced tickets will go on sale each week until July 31 (pictured Kangaroo Island SA, a destination included in the package)
The local cases are linked to a Princess Alexandra Hospital nurse who visited Byron Bay in northern New South Wales on the weekend of March 26-28 with her sister – with 11 infections now connected to that cluster.
A second cluster linked to a separate Princess Alexandra patient who had recently returned from Europe sits at eight cases.
One case was recorded in New South Wales on Wednesday prompting a string of restrictions to be enforced.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the new rules for Byron Bay and the surrounding Ballina, Tweed and Lismore local government areas, which come into effect 5pm Wednesday and will continue over the Easter long weekend until midnight April 5.
Gatherings in homes, including holiday rental properties have been restricted to a maximum 30 people in the four northern NSW local government areas.
Public indoor settings including hospitality venues must revert back to the one person per four square metre rule while the wearing of masks in shops, public transport and taxis will be mandatory.
Some of the discounted routes Aussies can fly on
Far North Queensland
Melbourne – Cairns
Sydney – Cairns
Darwin – Cairns
New South Wales
Melbourne – Merimbula
Adelaide – Gold Coast
Melbourne – Gold Coast
Sydney – Gold Coast
Canberra – Gold Coast
Avalon – Gold Coast
Melbourne – Launceston
Sydney – Launceston
Brisbane – Launceston
Melbourne – Devonport
Melbourne – Burnie
Darwin – Broome
Sydney – Broome
Melbourne – Broome
Whitsundays and Mackay
Sydney – Proserpine
Sydney – Hamilton Island
Sunshine Coast (Queensland)
Sydney – Maroochydore
Melbourne – Maroochydore
Adelaide – Maroochydore
Adelaide – Alice Springs
Sydney – Uluru
Brisbane – Alice Springs
Melbourne – Alice Springs
Perth – Alice Springs
Sydney – Alice Springs
Brisbane – Uluru
Melbourne – Uluru
Melbourne (Avalon Airport)
Gold Coast – Avalon
Sydney – Avalon
Adelaide – Kingscote
Flights, routes and the total number of tickets will be driven by demand and are subject to final discussions with the airlines
Source: DailyMail AU