Victorians during lockdown had waited for the green light from Premier Daniel Andrews to "get on the beers", but as he visited the King Valley on Wednesday, it was more a case of "get on the wines".
The North East visit was the premier's first trip out of Melbourne since the pandemic and the location for an announcement he said was the biggest regional tourism announcement in Victoria's history.
The $465 million package included specific infrastructure projects - including at Dal Zotto Wines, the King Valley's "Prosecco Road" and the snowfields - plus marketing and other incentives to bring visitors back to the regions.
This includes $28 million for 120,000 vouchers, each worth $200, for tourists to visit regional Victoria. People will have to prove they have spent at least $400 on the trip to qualify for a voucher.
Tourism Minister Martin Pakula said the details of the voucher scheme were still to be confirmed, but they would not just be for Melburnians.
"The design of the scheme is still being finalised, but it's for travel in regional Victoria so that would include region-to-region travel," he said.
Mr Andrews said the vouchers would be available before Christmas, after the government spoke to industry groups about the details.
"This is about 120,000 visits that might not otherwise have happened," he said.
"This is about giving a real boost to the tourism sector who have done it tough, but can recover."
Asked about the possibility of easing rules around masks specifically for Border communities, Mr Andrews did not support the idea, but flagged further announcements later this week.
"On Sunday you will see some changes to mask policy. That will be principally where you are outside and you're away from others," he said.
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Speaking at Dal Zotto Wines where he stayed for lunch, Mr Andrews said he acknowledged regional areas had done it tough because of lockdowns, but was happy to hear visitors were already returning.
"Once we have interstate borders open, no doubt spots like this, which are absolutely unique and of the highest quality, will be even busier still," he said.
He said there was no need to pressure the NSW government to open the border earlier than Monday.
The premier also used Wednesday's trip to visit his mum Jan, who lives just outside of Wangaratta.
"I'm looking forward to seeing her. I spoke to her last night and told her that I'd be up here today," Mr Andrews said.
"It's been a long time - I think the last time we saw each other was the day before Christmas Eve."
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