Vouchers, discount events are planned once again
The government will distribute vouchers and promote discount events to boost consumption and kick-start an economy troubled by the pandemic.
Consumers can apply for discount coupons distributed to partner businesses or credit card companies. They can be used in eight business areas: accommodations, tourism, entertainment, movies, exhibitions, sports, restaurants and agriculture.
Each sector has a limit on the number of coupons available. An estimated 10 million people could benefit from the discounts, according to the government.
“We are planning to resume measures to boost the real economy, including the distribution of consumption coupons, which was temporarily suspended due to a recent surge in coronavirus cases,” said Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki at an emergency economy meeting held Oct. 16 in Sejong.
“The exact date of the distribution will be determined after a thorough discussion with health authorities. We will also promote discount events such as the Korea Sale Festa and Christmas discounts at regional markets, to stimulate domestic consumption.”
The coupon package will likely start from the first week of next month, according to officials from relevant ministries at the central government.
The vouchers include a 30,000 won ($26) to 40,000 won discount on reservations for accommodations, a 40 percent discount on exhibition tickets and an 8,000 won discount for concert tickets. A 10,000 won cash reward is given out from credit card companies for every fifth purchase of more than 20,000 won at a restaurant, a plan to motivate more people to dine at local businesses.
The previous plan to start providing discounts in August was pushed back after daily coronavirus cases went into the triple digits following a mass protest held in Gwanghwamun Square on Liberation day.
The government hopes the coupons coupled with a recent relaxing of social distancing measures will stimulate consumer demand.
The Consumer Sentiment Index (CSI) took a downturn in September, according to the Finance Ministry, after slowly recovering since April following strengthened social distancing rules in August. September’s CSI dropped by 8.8 from a month earlier, reaching 79.4. The CSI is a measure of consumer’s expectations regarding the overall economy. If the index falls below 100, it means consumers have a pessimistic view of the economy.
Other discount events to increase spending are scheduled for next month.
The latest is the Korea Seafood Festa scheduled for Oct. 26 through Nov. 15, where seafood sold by small businesses will be discounted.
The Korea Sales Festa will offer consumer products and produce from regional farms at discounted prices. The event will run from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15 in both offline and online markets.
BY KANG JAE-EUN [email@example.com]