Ministry touts NT$1.2b culture voucher plan’s business value

CNA photo June 11, 2020

TAIPEI (CNA) — A government plan to issue culture stimulus vouchers worth NT$1.2 billion (US$40.49 million) from next month could generate about NT$5 billion in value for the culture industry and benefit more than 2 million people, a Ministry of Culture official said Thursday.

The culture ministry said it will issue 2 million vouchers in electronic form, each with a face value of NT$600, to Taiwan nationals, foreign and Chinese spouses who hold residency permits and new immigrants, to help boost the culture industry which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the plan, consumers must download and install an app on their smartphone to receive the voucher. Each person is entitled to one NT$600 voucher, said Chen Yue-yi (陳悅宜), director of the ministry’s Department of Cultural and Creative Development, at a press conference Thursday.

The voucher will be valid from July 22 to Dec. 31 and can be used to buy tickets for art exhibitions, performances, concerts, movies and other cultural and art events as well as for purchases at over 10,000 culture-related stores and venues, including bookstores and music stores, according to a statement issued by the ministry.

The ministry will hold eight briefing sessions around Taiwan in the near future to promote the program, Chen said.

In addition, the National Performing Arts Center will also issue NT$200 vouchers in paper form to consumers who purchase tickets through the center’s online booking system with their culture voucher.

The NT$200 vouchers will be distributed from the service centers of the country’s three major performing arts venues — the National Theater and Concert Hall in northern Taiwan, National Taichung Theater in central Taiwan, and National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts in southern Taiwan. Each person will be entitled to one NT$200 voucher at each of the three venues.

Culture Minister Lee Yung-te (李永得) said the culture stimulus voucher program aims to boost access to and participation in art and cultural activities.

Culture Minister Lee Yung-te (李永得) (Photo courtesy of CNA)

Lee Yung-feng (李永豐), founder and director of Paper Windmill Theater, expressed support for the program , saying it will enable many parents who have no extra money to take their children to theaters.

Wang Jhao-cian (汪兆謙), founder and director of Our Theater, said the culture voucher program makes him feel the arts and culture sector is not alone and has not been “marginalized” by the government.

The program has also been warmly received by the entertainment distribution business.

Deepjoy Picture Corp., a leading entertainment company and motion picture distributor in Taiwan, which has plans to release 13 films and hold four concerts, expects its business to grow in the second half of the year, in part due to the launch of the program amid easing pandemic restrictions.

The company, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, said its revenue was NT$8.48 million for the first five months of the year, down 88.38 percent from a year earlier.