With the expected transition of the COVID-19 prevention and response scheme into a phased return to pre-pandemic normalcy, the South Korean government will re-implement the issuance of purchase discount coupons, which give discount offers in nine areas including dine-out, hotel reservation, concerts, and more, starting Nov. 1. The issuance of the coupons, which was temporarily suspended last year due to the spread of COVID-19, will be resumed to boost sales in the fourth quarter. Remaining shopping coupons worth 228.2 billion won will be issued by the end of this year.
At the Emergency Economy Response Meeting held at the Government Seoul Complex on Tuesday, Minister of Economy and Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Hong Nam-ki announced that the discount coupon program will be fully reinstated starting on next Monday, with the kick-off of a gradual shift to “live with COVID-19.”
The coupons can be used in nine different areas—restaurants, hotel reservation, travel, sports, movies, exhibition, performance, sporting events, and agro-fishery products. Contrary to the previous scheme, under which coupons could only be used online for restaurants, performance, and agro-fishery products with the purpose of preventing the spread of the coronavirus, these coupons can be used at offline stores. Since last year, the government issued shopping coupons of 552.8 billion won through supplementary budgets, but because of a restriction on where it can be used, the processing rate of the coupons remained at a meager 59%.
Restaurant coupons offer a discount of 10,000 won on the fourth purchase when a coupon user makes three purchases, each for more than 20,000 won. Sports coupons offer a discount of 30,000 won when a coupon user makes a monthly payment of more than 80,000 won at indoor sports facilities, such as fitness center.
Performance coupons give a discount of 8,000 won per person when a coupon user books a ticket at Ticket Link, etc. Movie coupons offer a discount of 6,000 per person if a coupon user reserves a ticket at multiplex theater’s websites. Hotel reservation coupons offers a discount of 30,000 won if a coupon user books hotels at 50 online travel agencies including Interpark, given that the purchase price exceeds 70,000 won, and offers a discount of 20,000 won if the purchase price is less than 70,000 won. Sporting events coupons provide a discount of up to 50% (as high as 7,000 won) of the gate money. Museum visitors may get a discount of 3,000 won, and art museum visitors can get a discount of 5,000 won.
Travel coupons give a 40% discount if a coupon user makes an advance payment of an early reservation promo package for domestic travel. The discount rate was raised from 30% to 40%, considering the travel industry that has taken a heavy blow. Travel coupons, however, are available starting mid-November as preparation is required for implementation. The government will put up a notification on the website of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and provide detailed information on how to use coupons to credit card companies and ticket booking agencies. The shopping coupon program will end upon exhaustion of the allocated budgets.
Choong-Hyun Song email@example.com