Boost domestic demandAs expected, the government confirmed that it will make Monday, Oct. 2 a holiday to bridge the weekend and three-day Chuseok holidays, which take place between Oct. 3-5. As the Chuseok holidays overlaps with the National Foundation Day (Oct. 3), the entire nation will be able to enjoy an unprecedented 10-day long break. Oct. 6 is actually the alternative holiday for the National Foundation Day, and Hangeul Day, which falls on Oct. 9, is also a national holiday.
In approving the decision, President Moon Jae-in said that he hoped the longest-ever holidays could contribute to revitalizing the sluggish economy and domestic demand.
Giving a heads-up on a long holiday a month ahead can help the industrial and business sectors plan better. Industrial workplaces can prepare well ahead as not to disrupt the monthly output during the 10-day break. It had been hard for people to make plans when temporary holidays were hurriedly announced only a few days earlier. It could be better if holidays like the May 5 Children Day could become predictable regardless of the calendar by making it fixed as the first Monday of May.
The worry is that the long holiday may end up fattening wallets overseas rather than at home. Bank of Korea statistics showed deficits in travel balance in July at record highs. This was because more people went abroad for summer holiday. Flight tickets and overseas trip packages have been fully booked for the October holiday. The government and industry must come up with a longer-term outline to keep locals in the country to spend their holiday. Koreans already developed a high taste and standards for spending their free time. They will not turn their eyes inward unless the tourism infrastructure lives up to their expectations.
JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 6, Page 34