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Easing financial burden, supporting K-culture among top priorities for Culture Ministry

By Park Ga-young

Published : Feb. 6, 2024 - 20:08

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Culture Minister Yu In-chon introduces the ministry's policy directions for 2024 at Government Complex Seoul on Tuesday. (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism) Culture Minister Yu In-chon introduces the ministry's policy directions for 2024 at Government Complex Seoul on Tuesday. (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)

Alleviating the financial burden of people's cultural and leisure activities, bolstering the creation of globally competitive cultural and artistic work and attracting 20 million inbound tourists are among the Culture Ministry’s policy priorities for 2024, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced Tuesday.

In addition, the ministry said it will supply a total of 17.4 trillion won ($13.07 billion) in policy financing this year, up 120 percent from 2023, to boost investment in content and establish a globally competitive content production infrastructure. For the content industry, which has become a major export sector, the ministry will introduce a two-step strategy to spur the growth of the content industry that encompasses games, videos, cartoons and webtoons in the first half of this year.

In March, the ministry will introduce a five-year plan for the games industry. It will include pursuing legal reform to gradually transfer video game content rating classification authority to the private sector and to revamp the classification criteria, fostering a user-friendly gaming environment.

The ministry said that the country is facing a series of challenges ranging from economic pressure, an aging population coupled with a low birth rate and cultural disparities among different regions.

To help ease these issues, the ministry will focus on reducing people's financial burden in enjoying cultural activities by providing subsidies.

For instance, a new program will be introduced in March that provides a subsidy of up to 150,000 won to 160,000 young people who were born in 2005 to be spent on cultural performances and exhibitions.

The subsidy for the culture card for vulnerable groups will be increased from 110,000 won to 130,000 won per person per year. Basic living allowance recipients and those whose households qualify as being in the "upper low-income bracket" according to the ministry can utilize the card to subsidize various leisure and sports activities as well as purchase of books, movie tickets and tourism.

The worker vacation support program will provide support for up to 150,000 individuals, offering a maximum of 450,000 accommodation discount vouchers to all who download the coupons.

The support for sports lesson vouchers will also be expanded, easing the financial burden of sports activities for 120,000 low-income youth with a monthly subsidy of 100,000 won and 20,000 people with disabilities with a monthly subsidy of 110,000 won.

The ministry also vowed to tackle ticket scalpers for performances and sports games, which increases the financial burden on consumers.

In 2023, the country received 11 million tourists, and this year, the goal is to surpass the pre-COVID-19 level of 17 million by integrating culture and the arts, beauty and medical care, sports and international conferences into the tourism sector.

A performing arts festival will be introduced in October, combining existing festivals such as "Welcome Daehakro," "Seoul Performing Arts Festival," and "Performing Arts Market in Seoul. The festival will add a variety of appeals for foreign visitors, along with a beauty festival in June and a K-pop festival in October.

"In 2024, we will consolidate all policy efforts to enrich the daily lives of citizens and the vitality of local communities through culture. With a leap in the culture, sports and tourism industries, we aim to elevate South Korea's position as a leading global cultural nation,” Yu In-chon, the minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said in a statement.