Luxury Escapes to give away $200 million in vouchers for vaccinated Australians

From hundreds of dollars in vouchers to redeemable flights and hotel rooms, the travel industry is ready to reward those who get the COVID-19 jab.

Luxury Escapes is the latest travel company to offer vaccination incentives, announcing plans to give away $200 million in travel vouchers to those who've begun their vaccination process. The travel booking platform joins Qantas, Virgin Australia and Uber in offering incentives to Australians to get the vaccine, in the hope boosting vaccination numbers will make quarantine-free international travel more likely.

The first million vaccinated Australians can apply before September 30 for a $200 voucher to be used on international travel when the borders reopen.

Applicants need only indicate the state or territory they were vaccinated in, the type of vaccine they received, and the date or dates they were vaccinated, using a form on the Luxury Escapes website.

Jason Shugg, Luxury Escapes' chief customer officer couldn't specify the number of vouchers already distributed but did say "booking for international holidays through Luxury Escapes have increased tenfold" as a result of the incentive.

Chief executive and founder of Luxury Escapes, Adam Schwab, is hopeful the move will encourage other businesses to provide their own incentives saying "we hope that giving away $200 million in incentives to Australians who are getting vaccinated will give our vaccine rollout a massive boost and inspire other businesses to follow suit".

Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration recently amended the rules around the promotion and advertising of medicine to enable medical bodies and workplaces to encourage people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine with rewards like cash, complementary medicine and other prizes.

In May, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce revealed the airline's plan to reward passengers for getting vaccinated with incentives like discounts, flight vouchers or 1000 frequent flyer points. He also announced that 10 people would receive free flights for a year, in a rewards program commencing in July, to be managed  on the Qantas app.

"We're going to offer 10 "mega-prizes", at least one for each state and territory, where you will get for a year, for a family of four, unlimited economy class travel on the Qantas and Jetstar network," Joyce told Nine's Today show at the time.

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Accor, one of the world's largest hotel groups, also committed to offering 1 million points to the winners of the Qantas mega-prize which would allow the recipients to receive free accommodation.

Last week, Virgin Australia announced its own incentive program for Australians to get vaccinated,  revealing a giveaway of millions of Velocity Frequent Flyer points, as well as business class flights.

However, Virgin said their competition would not open until all Australian adults were eligible for vaccination. At present, only Australians aged 40 and over are eligible for the vaccine, with the exception of those in front line roles or with conditions that make them vulnerable to the disease. Passengers can register their interest on the airline's "VA-Z and Win" web page.

Rideshare company Uber also pledged to deliver 10,000 free rides to and from COVID-19 vaccination appointments for people living with a disability, and their carers, through a partnership with Able Australia.

Uber general manager Dom Taylor said an inability to access transport should not prevent Australians from being vaccinated, and encouraged other entities to do what they  could to make getting the vaccine easier.

"No single entity can end this pandemic. We are all in this together, government, not-for-profits, businesses and individuals and we want to play our part," he said.

with Craig Platt

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