Tourist industry defends holidays
Beijing criticised over golden week proposal
Reports of plans to scrap the 'golden week' holidays have prompted opposition that has not been confined to the tourism sector.
Mainland media has reported that the national tourism watchdog is suggesting at least one of the three national golden week holidays be eliminated in favour of breaks at other times of the year.
Advocates claim the changes could ease pressure on tourism infrastructure and improve the quality of services.
The National Tourism Administration announced yesterday that the proposal was still being drafted and needed further discussion.
Li Geng , of the National Tourism Standardisation Committee, said cancelling golden week holidays would have some negative effects.
'Central and local authorities have launched expensive projects and enlarged the transport system's capacity to match the demand on these three national holidays,' Mr Li said.
'We should consider that many transport resources would go unused if the long holidays were cancelled.
'Besides, many smaller places have invested heavily in tourism because of the contribution of the golden week holidays.
'Their tourism revenue would be cut dramatically if the holidays were scrapped.'
Critics say the week-long official holidays have resulted in unmanageable peak seasons that mean poor services for visitors. But Mr Li said that should not be used as an excuse to cancel the holidays. 'We can see the number of people visiting popular spots has decreased during the past National Day holidays,' he said. 'It means pressure on accommodation, transport and other services has been redistributed to new spots and overseas destinations.'
A Shenzhen travel agent also supported the golden week holidays because it boosted his trade.
'The week-long holidays allow people to plan long-distance trips,' he said.
'If the government shortened the golden week holidays, businesses offering long-distance trips would definitely be affected.'
Some people said cutting the longer holidays would only benefit wealthy people.
'I really appreciate the holidays because it's mandatory and guaranteed by the labour law,' a Shenzhen migrant worker said.
'My family and friends have some of the same holidays as me, no matter where we work.
'We may have no money to travel but at least we can get together on these three golden week holidays.'
According to a survey by sina.com, 54 per cent of more than 140,000 respondents favoured making changes to the public holidays, while 40 per cent backed the existing system.
The survey also found an increasing number of advocates for extending time off for traditional festivals, such as the Dragon Boat and Mid-Autumn festivals.
Mainlanders made 179 million trips this Labour Day break, a 22.7 per cent jump year on year
Tourism revenue was up 25.8 per cent, to (in yuan)
SOURCE: THE CHINA NATIONAL TOURISM ADMINISTRATION