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COVID-19 fallout in culture industry near 150 bln won in H1: report

All News 10:57 July 15, 2020

SEOUL, July 15 (Yonhap) -- Estimated financial losses caused by the new coronavirus in South Korea's arts and culture industry reached nearly 150 billion won (US$124.9 million) during the first half of 2020, a report showed Wednesday.

In a report assessing the financial damage in the culture industry during the January-June period, the Korea Culture & Tourism Institute (KCTI) estimated that 6,457 performing arts events, such as concerts and theater productions, and 1,525 visual arts events, such as art exhibitions, were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Sales worth 148.9 billion won were estimated to have been wiped out from the industry over the widespread disruptions of culture events. Of those, 82.3 billion won in sales were lost in the performing arts sector while 66.6 billion won were nixed from the visual arts sector.

KCTI said the analysis was based on data from Arts Council Korea and credit card transaction cancellation figures from canceled arts and culture events during the first half.

The institute also estimated that the performing arts sector saw a drop of 30.5 billion won in labor costs due to layoffs. The visual arts sector saw a reduction of 340 million won in labor expenditures.

"Considering the tendency of more openings of concerts and exhibitions in the second half of a year, the financial damage in the culture industry could snowball if the virus situation persists," Yang Hye-won, researcher and author of the KCTI report, said.

Yang also stressed the need for the government to provide opportunities for artists to pursue projects while offering subsidies for artists for them to be able to financially endure while the virus situation continues.

Last week, the culture ministry announced a plan to inject 156.9 billion won in the arts industry during the second half of 2020, including offering grants to cash-strapped artists and discount coupons for shows and events.

This file photo from June 5, 2020, shows a rehearsal of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, with members seated far apart and wearing masks, at the Lotte Concert Hall in southeastern Seoul. (Yonhap)


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