OPINION

Discovering how to use dining vouchers

It was encouraging to hear Bega Valley was to be included in the Dine and Discover pilot program as one of only three regions in the state. And the other two are in Sydney.

It seems though that the pilot hasn't quite found its wings just yet.

The state government announced the Dine and Discover vouchers several months ago, with every person aged 18 and over in the state to eventually receive $100 worth of vouchers to spend at eateries and entertainment venues.

Along with Sydney CBD and Northern Beaches, Bega Valley is to start seeing those vouchers accessible this week along with the encouragement to use at least one of them ASAP to prove the concept works.

However, there are gremlins in the system - not least of which is the scarcity of businesses to have signed up to the program.

In Merimbula five eateries have registered, while only the Picture Show Man Cinema and Club Sapphire are listed in the "Discover" section.

For Pambula, only Toast has registered to accept the vouchers so far.

In Bega there are no "Discover" options and only a couple for food - however Club Bega and Cafe Evolve are listed under their licensee names rather than their business names.

The process for customers itself isn't that straightforward either. Searching for venues to use your two $25 food vouchers has to be done separately from your two $25 activity vouchers. And you can only search by entering a postcode and town name - so forget trying to search the Bega Valley in one hit.

As of Tuesday it was unclear as to whether the vouchers were even accessible by all residents yet as outlined by the government and Service NSW.

While we know of people who have already received their email invitations and accessed their vouchers - some ACM journalists included - others have called in to say that all they see is a "Watch This Space" screen.

If you haven't been included in the initial mailout of vouchers, then we have to wait until March when the program expands statewide. Let's hope the pilot is able to make it off the runway by then.

Meanwhile, head along to Nosh Merimbula, The Ritzy Wine Bar, Club Sapphire Merimbula, Merimbula RSL Club, or the Grapevine Pizza Kitchen and Coffee Bar to spend your first (and second) $25!