The government will roll out a $1.2 billion stimulus package across the travel and tourism industries, along with an extension to its SME Loan Guarantee Scheme once JobKeeper expires at the end of the month.

The support package will subsidise 50 per cent of 800,000 domestic flights to select tourism destinations across Australia. The discounts will be based on average air fares, subject to final discussions with airlines, and will commence from 1 April.

The 50 per cent subsidies on about 800,000 plane tickets will be focused on destinations that usually rely heavily on foreign tourists, including Alice Springs and Kangaroo Island, and will be available from Apr 1 until the end of July.

The country’s two major airlines, Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia, slashed flights and put planes into hibernation while thousands of people across the industry became reliant on a federal government wage subsidy programme, which expires this month.

The support package includes A$200 million for Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia from April to October to help maintaining mothballed aircraft, bringing planes out of storage and wages for international flying staff.