Gov’t offers lots of Chuseok favorsThe government is offering free parking and cheaper Napa cabbages over the Chuseok holiday to make life easier and encourage spending.
According to the Finance Ministry Tuesday, the government will open up parking lots on government-owned properties across the country that can accommodate 1.14 million units. That figure includes the 600,000 parking spaces run by public companies.
Tolls on expressways will be waived for three days to help people traveling home on Chuseok, Korea’s harvest festival, and discounts will be offered on KTX bullet trains.
Between Oct. 1 through Oct. 3, discounts of up to 40 percent for individuals and 50 percent for families will be offered to people traveling to the greater Seoul area. Between Oct. 5 and Oct. 7, those discounts will be offered to people returning to Seoul from the provinces.
The government is also offering free or discounted events during the holiday to promote local tourism.
From the end of this month through Oct. 9, when the holiday period ends, the government will offer free admission to four major palaces in central Seoul - Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeok Palace, Changgyeong Palace and Deoksu Palace - as well as the Jongmyo Shrine and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Also, major museums will be offering discounts of up to 50 percent on admission while multiplexes like Megabox will be lowering ticket prices to weekday levels.
For people who have to work during the extended holiday, the government will be operating day-care services between Sept. 30 and Oct. 9.
To encourage small and medium-sized companies to take a holiday, the government has pushed back the deadline for supplies to government or state-run companies to Oct. 16 while also postponing the date on which companies pay premiums on four major forms of insurance from Oct. 10 to Oct. 12.
The Moon Jae-in government designated Oct. 2 a special holiday for this year, allowing some people holiday breaks of as long as 10 days starting Sept. 30 and ending Oct. 9, a yearly holiday commemorating the invention of Korea’s Hangul writing system.
Joo Hwan-wook, economy analysis director for the Finance Ministry, said earlier this month that studies have shown that the additional holiday on Oct. 2 is likely to increase consumer spending by as much as 2 trillion won ($1.77 billion).
Hotel bookings are buoyant, according to the tourism industry.
Social commerce company Ticket Monster said bookings it has handled for local hotel rooms increased 117 percent compared to last year, while bookings for overseas hotels increased 353 percent in the same period.
The government said it will be distribute 14 types of essential fresh produce and marine products to help stabilize prices at the agriculture cooperative Nonghyup’s Hanaro Mart.
The government has been releasing 3,000 tons of Napa cabbages since Sept. 5.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]