MELBOURNE, AAP – Victoria’s tourism bosses are calling on the federal government to add Tullamarine and three regional airports to the national ticket scheme.

They have co-signed a letter to federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan, saying they are “deeply disappointed” Avalon is the only Victorian airport to feature so far in the $1.2 billion tourism rescue package.

The scheme will involve 800,000 half-price flights between April and July.

While airlines have welcomed the scheme, nearly everyone else involved has panned it, including claims it targets marginal seats.

In the letter, which Victorian Tourism Minister Martin Pakula tweeted on Wednesday morning, local tourism boards “urgently” called on the federal government to add more destinations.

Apart from Tullamarine, they also want Albury, Bendigo and Mildura airports included.

“The vast majority of regional Victoria missed out – and disproportionately – compared with regional areas in other parts of the country,” they said.

Unlike many other states and territories, Victoria was dealing with the dual impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires and the pandemic.

“Our businesses and regions continue to be severely impacted by the loss of interstate and international tourism through restrictions and border closures,” they said.

“There has been a 98 per cent decline year-on-year of international passengers through Melbourne airport.

“Not only does most of regional Victoria miss out under the current design but the unintended consequences of this initiative is we become a source market for other states and territories.”

Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism said research had shown it would take until 2024 for the region to return to pre-pandemic visits.