Ballarat businesses have little faith the federal government's $1.2 billion tourism support package will provide much assistance once JobKeeper payments finish at the end of the month.
The package includes 800,000 half-price airline tickets to 13 airports in 'key tourism regions' across the country, an expanded loan scheme for small and medium businesses and direct support to airlines.
Only one Victorian airport, Avalon, is included in the 13 to benefit from the cheap tickets, along with the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Alice Springs, Launceston, Merimbula, and Kangaroo Island.
Ballarat Regional Tourism chair Iain Gunn said the package announcement was 'underwhelming'.
"I can't see how that's going to have an immediate effect for Ballarat. Good luck to everyone else, if you're on the Gold Coast, then happy days," he said.
"To be frank, it's probably hard to see the benefit to Ballarat. If you're flying to Avalon, you're basically flying to Melbourne.
"We're going to lose JobKeeper and that immediate, direct support that we've enjoyed. We may get some flow-on effect from people flying to Avalon but it's drawing a long bow."
Mr Gunn, who is also managing director of Mercure Ballarat, said while everything was helpful, the tourism sector was the first to be hit by the pandemic and will be one of the last to come out of it and needed industry-specific assistance.
"To lose that direct subsidy is going to make it difficult. I don't think it means loss of jobs, but it means that we're back to the full cost of running our businesses but not back to 100 per cent of our pre-COVID revenue, which means it's going to be difficult for people to survive and rebuild," he said.
"It's just underwhelming and disappointing but we'll survive and find our way through it."
Australian Hotels Association Victoria president David Canny said while any injection into tourism was positive, Victorians would not benefit.
"It's very much an airline subsidy and a northern Australia tourism subsidy. That's fine and good luck to them... but that fact of the matter is that this doesn't support hospitality in Victoria," he said.
Mr Canny, who also owns the Red Lion Hotel, said the package could even potentially be counter-productive and drive Victorians out of the state to chase warmer weather in winter.
"There'll be some little winners and the airlines deserve support, but hospitality needs a targeted relief package once JobKeeper finishes at the end of March and we haven't seen that yet," he said.