The successful Passport to Hobart program will make a comeback this year, as the City of Hobart launches a series of additional measures to support local businesses through the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.
The award-winning app-based loyalty program provides free food and beverage vouchers to people who regularly visit participating Hobart businesses, encouraging local spending that in turn flows across other economic sectors.
In addition, outdoor dining fees have been waived, and outdoor furniture has been installed at several locations including Wellington Court, Elizabeth Street Mall, Franklin Square and along Murray and Collins streets to encourage safer dining options for customers who want to purchase takeaway food in the city.
“Having to wear masks inside and the perceived risks associated with dining indoors has led to fewer people eating out and, in turn, fewer people spending time in the city to shop or visit other businesses,” Cr Reynolds said.
“We hope that by making it easier for people to eat and drink at outdoor tables, it will boost confidence in the ability to safely visit the city to support, eateries, retailers and service providers.”
Free parking at the Regatta Grounds has also been reinstated until 4 February, after which the Hobart Regatta will bump in for the annual event.
“There have unfortunately been a number of event cancellations for the Regatta Grounds over summer,” Cr Reynolds said. “The upside of that is that the area has been available to use for free parking to support people visiting the city.”
Other initiatives included in the support package include:
- activating vacant shopfronts with art or coordinated designs to make streetscapes more attractive and vibrant
- reactivation of the Hello Hobart website and social media platforms to showcase local businesses
- continue to offer parking incentives and CBD retail promotions to encourage retail spend in the CBD and at Salamanca Market
- introduction of a Business Concierge service to provide assistance to local businesses
- facilitation of commerce, industry and business roundtable discussions
The package follows on from previous support measures introduced last year to assist businesses impacted by Tasmania’s border closures.
Previous initiatives included free weekend bus travel, a summer Saturday ferry service, and discounted stallholder fees and additional operational support for Salamanca Market.