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June 22, 2017

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MOI considers adjusting CNY holiday to 9 days

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Regarding the issue of whether or not to adjust the flexible Chinese New Year to a nine-day holiday permanently, the Ministry of the Interior's (MOI) Department of Civil Affairs yesterday said it welcomes opinions from various corners to discuss the issue.

New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) recently lashed out at the government, saying that this year's six-day Chinese New Year holiday and the upcoming Lantern Festival are far too short, noting that the government should adjust the holidays in accordance with people's wishes.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yao Wen-chih (姚文智) yesterday held a public hearing about the matter at the Legislative Yuan and echoed Chu's argument by saying that the government should listen to people's voices and set a permanent nine-day Chinese New Year.

Yao said a long vacation will boost domestic tourism, alleviate traffic congestion during holidays and allow people to have sufficient rest.

Luo Su-chuan (羅素娟), the MOI's representative to the public hearing, said Chinese New Year's Eve and the first three days of the holiday are stipulated to be days off according to current regulations, adding that Chinese New Year could be a six-day holiday or a nine-day holiday depending on weekday adjustments.

Luo went on to say that if the government sticks to current regulations, then there will be four years in which people can have nine-day holidays and six years of six-day holidays in the next 10 years.

Still, she noted that if society reaches a consensus on the issue, then it is possible to make adjustments on working days to have more nine-day holidays in the future.

If the government should set the nine-day holiday for good, Luo said it will very likely increase the total number of annual leaves and greatly influence various sectors in the nation.

Rise in Labor Costs

Chiu Chiu-hui (邱求慧), secretary-general of the Ministry of Economic Affair's Industrial Development Bureau, yesterday said based on initial estimates, having an extra day off for the Chinese New Year would increase employers' labor costs by NT$8.6 billion.

As for domestic commercial activities, Chiu said more days off would increase retail and wholesale sales, stressing that, however, it is very possible that people would decide to go abroad for their nine-day holiday.

Chiu went on to say that costs for small- and medium-sized enterprises will also increase by approximately NT$4 billion, and revenues will decrease as much as NT$31 billion on a daily basis.

Boosting Tourism

Tourism Bureau official Chang Fu-nan (張富南) said he would be glad to see a permanent nine-day holiday, as a longer vacation will boost tourism profits.

Chang further explained that statistics show that tourism revenues this Chinese New Year hit NT$19.3 billion, which is less than last year's NT$28.3 billion.

National Freeway Bureau (NFB) official Hsu Fu-shen (徐福聲) said no matter if it is a six-day or nine-day holiday, the NFB is experienced in handling traffic congestion.

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