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Crashed Victorian voucher site back up

Holidaymakers hoping to snap up one of the Victorian government’s $200 regional tourism vouchers can again submit applications, after the website crashed within minutes of launching.

Registration for 40,000 travel vouchers opened online at 10am on Friday but the Business Victoria website was replaced with a white page reading “internal server error”.

By Friday evening however, the website’s “apply now” button was functioning again, with those intending to spend two or more nights in regional Victoria between 12 December and 22 January able to apply.

A Business Victoria spokesman said the website had received 800,000 visits by 5pm Friday and by 6pm more than 34,000 Victorians had successfully registered.

“Business Victoria apologises for the frustration caused,” the spokesman said.

Eligible destinations under the $28 million scheme, announced as part of a $300 million state budget tourism package last month, include the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and the Bellarine Peninsula.

“If those $200 vouchers mean people stay an extra night, maybe go to a local pub or restaurant. That’s all about wages and spending and investment,” Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday.

Victorian residents can apply even if their travel has already been booked.

After the first intake of vouchers capped at 40,000 ends for travel until January 22, a second application window opens for trips between 27 January and 1 April. A third round of vouchers will be available for travellers between 6 April and 31 May.

Those who encountered the faulty website on Friday expressed frustration online.

“Never get between a Melbournian and a freebee,” RMIT University associate professor Mark Gregory tweeted.

“What a mess!”

Opposition tourism spokeswoman Cindy McLeish labelled the launch a “complete flop”.

Meanwhile, Victoria hit 42 days without a coronavirus case on Friday, following 9760 tests over the previous 24 hours.

No one in hotel quarantine has tested positive since international flights returned to the state earlier this week.

According to the state government, there are 571 international arrivals staying at quarantine hotels, including 44 people with symptoms or complex health needs at the Novotel “hot hotel” in South Wharf.

Some 220 returned travellers are due to arrive on Friday.

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