Holiday-hungry Victorians took about four minutes to exhaust the state government’s Melbourne travel vouchers after applications opened on Friday morning.
All 40,000 allocated vouchers worth $200 each were snapped up by 10.04am, a state government spokeswoman said.
When the regional travel vouchers were last available, allocations were exhausted within 30 minutes, and when the scheme first launched last year the website crashed.
Tourist Minister Martin Pakula said the vouchers were valid for travel in an eight-week window from March 19 to May 16.
“Victorians have shown how keen they are to experience the best of Melbourne, and tourism and hospitality businesses will be big winners,” he said.
“The vouchers will provide another shot in the arm as the city continues its steady recovery.”
Successful applicants will be able to use their voucher for travel in 26 local government areas across greater Melbourne.
But some of the most popular destinations – the Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges, Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula – have been excluded as they are part of the regional scheme.
To access the vouchers, visitors must spend $400 or more on accommodation, attractions or experiences, and must spend a minimum of two nights in paid accommodation.
Applications are open to Victorian residents aged 18 and older with households limited to one voucher from each of the Melbourne and regional travel voucher schemes.
More than 150,000 vouchers valued at $200 have been snapped up during the first three rounds of the scheme, including 40,000 vouchers currently valid for travel up to April 1.
The state government said 52,000 travellers spent an estimated $85 million across Victoria under the first round of the regional scheme.
“These vouchers will deliver a significant boost to tourism operators and will mean even more people have the chance to experience the best of Melbourne,” Mr Pakula said.
“Whether it’s a staycation or a visit from regional Victoria, there’s never been a better time to lose yourself in marvellous Melbourne.”
Registrations for another 50,000 vouchers available in the third round of the regional travel voucher scheme will open on March 30.
For more information on the Melbourne travel voucher scheme and to apply on Friday, go to vic.gov.au/melbourne-travel-voucher-scheme.