Millions of mainlanders will travel during the National Day holiday this week, but officials are predicting little growth for an industry hit by widespread complaints about crowds and inflated prices. The government began granting a week-long holiday to celebrate National Day in 1999 to boost economic growth with travel and shopping. Nearly 64 million people travelled last year, generating 25 billion yuan (HK$24.36 billion) for the industry, according to government officials. The Civil Aviation Administration of China is forecasting 1.65 million people will travel by air during the holiday, up just five per cent from last year, a spokesman said. The Ministry of Railways expects 35.1 million to use the system, a rise of one per cent, state media said. The ministry will run 530 extra trains for the holiday. And one of the largest travel agencies, China International Travel Service, says bookings for overseas tours have not risen from last year because of fierce competition and lack of new destinations. Some economists have questioned how much the 'holiday economy' can contribute to overall growth. In an editorial, the Market Daily warned the holiday was in danger of becoming an 'empty plate'. 'Some people have had problems so they have simply given up the idea of travelling,' it said. These problems included transport bottlenecks, difficulties finding accommodation and 'chaotic' pricing, the newspaper said. Travellers have been trapped in traffic jams for hours near major tourist sites such as the Great Wall. Those who brave the crowds will find tight security, state media says, with authorities determined to preserve order ahead of a key Communist Party meeting in November. Airport security also has been tightened since the terror attacks on the United States. An editorial in the People's Daily called for efforts to raise the quality of service and improve safety as the holiday strains the transport network. 'To fully recognise the potential of the 'golden week' holiday, we must maintain safety, order, efficiency and quality,' it said. For travellers heading overseas, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand remained the most popular destinations, operators said. Hong Kong, Japan and Australia tours are also selling well, with less demand for more exotic places such as Egypt and Turkey. In Shanghai, overseas travel has been helped by new rules allowing residents to apply for passports without having to get permission from their employer. Travel agencies are urging the government to authorise travel to more destinations, such as European countries, to help their business. 'Without the opening of the European market, it will be hard to achieve a new surge in tourism,' said Wang Yanguang, a marketing executive for China International Travel Service in Beijing.