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Gov't mulls nine-day 'golden' holiday in May: minister

SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- The government will consider designating temporary holidays in May this year to create a nine-day "golden" holiday week designed to encourage spending at home, the labor minister said Monday.

Lee Ki-kweon unveiled the plan to reporters at the government complex in Sejong, saying the government could designate May 2 and 4 as temporary holidays to bridge Labor Day (May 1), Buddha's Birthday (May 3) and Children's Day (May 5). Under the plan, the May holidays would last from April 29 to May 7.

"In order to designate temporary holidays, we will need the approval of the home affairs ministry and other relevant ministries, as well as the cooperation of the financial industry, but if we can establish a long holiday in May, it should have a huge impact on boosting domestic consumption," Lee said.

A temporary holiday is designated at the request of relevant ministries, with approval from the Cabinet and the president.

Last year, the government designated May 6 a temporary holiday and introduced various measures to encourage spending during the four-day weekend, including an exemption from highway tolls, free admission to major tourist attractions and discounts on train tickets for families.

As a result, sales at department stores increased 16 percent on-year, traffic increased nine percent, and the number of visitors to palaces jumped 70 percent.

Labor Minister Lee Ki-kweon speaks during a press briefing at the government complex in Sejong on Jan. 9, 2017. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr

(END)

Park So-yeon  edt@koreapost.com

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