Public holidays fall well for trips abroad in 2012
Hongkongers can look forward to an extra-long break over Easter and three extended weekends next year, thanks to the way public holidays fall, and the travel trade can rub its hands at the prospect of business.
An extra-long weekend results from a clash between the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival public holidays, both on October 1. Workers will get an extra day off, meaning a potential break from Saturday, September 29 to Tuesday, October 2.
The other two long weekends result from the compensation days to be given for New Year's Day on January 1 and the handover anniversary on July 1, both Sundays.
As usual, Lunar New Year in January and Christmas in December remain the two main breaks.
But with Ching Ming - the grave-sweeping festival - on April 4 next year coming almost on top of the Easter holidays starting on April 6, employees can, by taking just a day's leave on April 5, give themselves a six-day break to April 9.
Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said the arrangements, particularly the potential six-day break in April - long enough for an overseas trip - were likely to boost outbound travel.
'Five or six days are enough to visit Australia,' Tung said.
'Some travellers may even take a couple more days off to join a tour to Europe, which usually takes eight to 10 days.'
He could not say whether the extra time off would help renew interest in travel to Japan, a popular destination until the radiation scare triggered by damage to a nuclear power station following a huge earthquake and tsunami in March.
'We are aware that many Hong Kong travellers are still hesitating to visit Tokyo, which used to be one of the most popular cities among Hong Kong travellers,' he said.
'Many people are still monitoring the situation there, and they will take some time to overcome concerns over the radiation scare.'
The Ching Ming festival comes almost on top of the Easter holiday
This means that employees can take just a day's leave and give themselves a break of this many days: 6