Vaccine Incentives: Where are they?

The latest stoush between Qantas and Rex Airlines simply demonstrates exactly where each airline has been focused during the thing, and how committed they are to regional communities, like the EP.

In news that was ignored due to Rex’s full page ad going after Qantas and Virgin about customer refunds, Rex has also bulked up its fleet to take on the metro giants in capital city routes.

This is interesting news given Rex is short for Regional Express.

Who knew that Sydney and Melbourne were regional centres?

What incentive is there to get vaccinated? IMAGE: Tatyana Nekrasova - Canva

Now, let’s have a look at what else Rex and Qantas have been up to during the last almost 18 months.

Rex bailed up the District Council of Lower EP for cash, with the alternative being the complete abandoning of the market.

On the flip side, they put on a number of extra services to and from Ceduna, which you can count on one hand.

Consider the opposition now.

Let’s go all the way back to February 2019, when Qantas cut the number of flights between Adelaide and Port Lincoln from 50……. To 46.

That’s still 23 return services a week.

Then during the worst of the thing, in June last year, Qantas announced a return to a return flight daily, which was quickly trumped by Rex.

That is, Rex announced a higher number of flights AFTER Qantas.

And what is the latest move by Qantas during the thing?

Well, Qantas is offering incentives for people to get vaccinated.

Possibilities include status points, frequent flyer points, even the possibility of free flights for a year.

That’s a huge commitment from a major international airline which has taken an absolute bath through border closures, compared with Rex, which doesn’t do international flights and has less incentive to offer an incentive given its’ admittedly positive thing-refund policy which I give full points for.

But the incentives got me thinking

How many businesses, other than Qantas, are offering incentives to get vaccinated?

Well, as it turns out, not many, although Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly is calling for businesses to get on board.

I find it interesting that so many tourism businesses are struggling, yet the states and territories, alongside the federal government, aren’t offering carrots, or sticks, to get vaccinated.

After all, what better incentive than if Scott Morrison set a hard border reopening date?

What about tax offsets from the feds?

Should state governments offer interstate residents travel vouchers if they are vaccinated?

What if the SA Government offered travel vouchers through family members in SA for them to come and visit once they get the jab?

This opens up so many different possibilities, so many ways to innovate and create a positive approach to the vaccine.

I don’t know if West Virginia’s incentives would all apply in Australia, but I think Israel has tapped into the Aussie spirit, pardon the pun.

And with vaccine hesitancy on the way up, this could be the best way to get our tourism businesses back in the race, including those here on the EP.