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80% netizens against cancelling National Day golden week
By Zhao Tingting (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2008-09-09 14:36

The cancellation of the National Day golden week was opposed by most netizens, according to an online survey carried out by sina.com, one of the country's largest online communities.

Some 78.31 percent of the 49,422 respondents thought cancellation of the National Day golden week will leave them less time for travelling or family reunions, as the paid vacations system is hard to implement.

While Cai Jiming, a professor with Tsinghua University and an advocator of national holiday reforms, said the National Day golden week should be cancelled just as the May Day golden week was, if the paid vacations system is strictly followed by businesses.

The best holiday method should combine both national holidays and paid vacations, Cai said.

His advocacy was echoed by 18.68 percent of respondents who thought that cancellation of the golden week could increase traditional holidays and relieve traffic and environmental pressures.

According to feedback, the cancellation of the weeklong May Day Holiday this year relieved pressures on the traffic and environment and embodied traditional culture, Cai said.

China introduced the golden week system in 1999 to promote the idea of going out and help stimulate domestic consumption. Yet this year, the May Day golden week was cancelled and three more traditional holidays, including the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival, have become public holidays.

Meanwhile, the State Council, China's cabinet, regulated that employees who have worked from one to ten years would have five days paid vacation; those who have worked for 10 to 20 years would have ten days; and those with more than 20 years 15 days.

As to the plunge of tourism revenue during this year's shortened May Day Holiday compared with the previous year, Cai argued that China is no longer in the era of stimulating consumption by golden weeks.

"The main significance of holiday reforms does not lie in the economy, and tourism revenue shrinkage over seven days doesn't indicate loss over the whole year." Cai said.

Yet in the short term, the National Day golden week will not be cancelled, as the national holiday schedule should not be revised so frequently, he added.

The Chinese tourism sector has raked in high tourism revenues during golden weeks over the past years. Last year, travelers reached 146 million during the weeklong National Day Holiday and tourism revenue 64.2 billion yuan ($9.38 billion). But traffic congestion, poor services and price hikes for tourist attractions during that period were always complained about by consumers.


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