Dine and Discover vouchers have surged in popularity among Wagga residents with spending having doubled in recent months, rising from $1.7 million in May to $3.4 million as of July 23.
The huge increase was seen largely in Discover voucher redemptions which jumped from about 40 per cent of all vouchers redeemed in May, to 55 per cent of all vouchers redeemed at the latest count.
Owner of Wagga's Forum 6 cinema Craig Lucas said his business saw voucher use skyrocket over the recent school holidays, up from an already consistently high turnover since the program began.
"We've been fairly consistent with it but at one point there over the school holidays the Discover vouchers were our biggest income stream," Mr Lucas said.
"[They] beat Eftpos, beat online sales, beat cash, but that has dropped off considerably since the holidays."
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When using Discover vouchers customers tended to spend closer to the exact $25 amount, whereas the typical spend with Dine vouchers was around $40.
Mr Lucas said the $25 Discover vouchers had an undeniable influence on his business bouncing back from a huge slump in 2020 when it was closed for about five months.
"I really think it has made a big difference," Mr Lucas said. "It has given people confidence to come back out to the cinemas, or anywhere really, I'm sure of that.
"We were getting a lot of people coming in and saying they hadn't been to the movies since before the pandemic."
He said the figures back up his observations.
"Over the last couple of months Wagga has really outperformed other areas and other cinemas that we normally wouldn't," he said.
Wagga Civic Theatre manager Carissa Campbell said the Discover vouchers helped them have a "record-breaking" year of sales.
"The sales in the first six months of this year looked similar to our sales for a whole year previously - and not 2020, a normal year - so it's absolutely through the roof and it really tells me people want to go out," Ms Campbell said.
The theatre has redeemed 5000 vouchers since the program began and saw lots of new patrons enticed in by the sizeable discount.
"It's been really good about getting patrons back but in [and] bringing in new patrons as well," Ms Campbell said.
"Someone who has been a bit intimidated by coming previously has thought, 'No, I'll give it a go' and really enjoyed themselves."
"For us the Discover vouchers really have made a difference."
Wagga Business Chamber's Serena Hardwick said the huge increase in recent months didn't surprise her with restrictions during the school holidays keeping people in town and looking for something to do.
"With people not wanting to go anywhere they're looking for things to do here and the school holidays would have helped because as a parent you start running out of things to do," she said.
"It makes for a good day out."
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