Ballarat hospitality venues are welcoming the return of a state government food and entertainment rebate program.
As of Monday, Victorians will be able to claim 25 per cent of their spending over $40 at venues across the state as part of the Eat, Play, Cash Back program.
Eligible purchases include meals at restaurants, cafes and pubs, tickets to live music or art performances, and entries into museums, galleries and amusement parks.
Ballarat bar owner Brian Taylor said the program was "fantastic" for attracting people to celebrate a night out.
"What it did was really promote dining and make people think about dining," he said.
"That is what we need to do, put it as the first option in their mind. Spend time with family and friends and go out and have a great experience."
This comes after the program was first introduced in March 2022, as a way to stimulate the state's hospitality industry.
Mr Taylor said his bar Roy Hammond had been one of the top beneficiaries of the cashback program during its first run.
"What we are seeing now is that there is a lot of consumer confidence. People are wanting to go out and spend time with people," he said.
"Why wouldn't you want to take that opportunity to get 25 per cent back? What a great incentive to go out.
"If you are ever thinking or questioning yourself about going out, this should push you over the line."
The $25 million program was part of the state government's $200 million Victorian Business Stimulus package.
The cash back program will continue until December 16, 2022, or when funds are exhausted.
The Grapes Hotel owner Joshua Brown said after a tough past two years the city's hospitality industry was back to pre-COVID levels of patronage.
"If you look around here you wouldn't know that the downturn happened. We have a fantastic customer base who regularly come in," he said.
"We get quite a lot of travellers from Melbourne. With the 25 per cent cash back it is an added advantage, especially during the economically trying times we are all going through at the moment."
Customers can claim up to $125 cash back each and make multiple claims until they reach the cap.
Anyone looking to claim dining or entertainment will need to provide a receipt and bank account details.
For more information visit https://www.vic.gov.au/victorian-dining-and-entertainment-program.
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