Beijing considers scrapping chaotic 'golden weeks'
The central government is reviewing the national 'golden week' holidays, and may scrap some of them, the mainland's tourism watchdog said yesterday.
The week-long holidays were introduced in October 1999 to boost consumer spending amid a sluggish mainland economy.
The holidays, which have been a boon to the Hong Kong economy, have been criticised for creating unmanageable peak seasons that result in poor services for tourists. Many members of the public and academics have been calling for years for the system to be scrapped.
The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) announced yesterday that over this year's Labour Day break, mainlanders made 179 million trips domestically, up 22.7 per cent year on year, and tourism revenue was up 25.8 per cent to 73.6 billion yuan, both record highs.
But the swelling coffers have coincided with soaring complaints. Tourists lodged 352 complaints - 38 per cent more than last year - during the break against travel agents, hotels, tourist attractions and other bodies about traffic jams, overcharging, commercial fraud and safety issues.
CNTA deputy director Zhang Xiqin said these issues were long-standing problems rooted in the failure of supply to meet demand during the peak seasons. In order to address the 'worrying shortcomings' of the 'golden week' system, the central government was considering alternatives, he said.
'Many people have offered suggestions. For example, some have suggested cancelling one 'golden week' and shifting the holidays to traditional holidays. These ideas are under discussion,' Mr Zhang said.
China has three 'golden weeks' centred on Lunar New Year, Labour Day and National Day.
Delegates and deputies to the nation's top legislative and consultative bodies have suggested replacing some 'golden week' holidays with traditional celebrations such as the Mid-Autumn Festival and grave-sweeping day, events which currently are not holidays.
'We [will] continue to guarantee the number of holidays. They will just be rearranged,' Mr Zhang said.