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China Daily Website

New holiday plan needed

Updated: 2012-10-08 08:10
( China Daily)

Fresh from the "longest-ever Golden Week" - the regular National Day holiday plus Mid-Autumn Festival - the nation has a lot to think about.

In spite of all the vows and preparations for the past eight hectic days, there were few signs of improvements in the holiday experience, and holidaymakers throughout the country were greeted by the same old "people mountain, people sea" that has characterized all past golden weeks. Many of those hitting the road in their own vehicles found themselves stranded in traffic jams on the national transport arteries, and Beijing Railway Station witnessed a single-day passenger peak that was 20 percent more than that during the Chinese New Year holiday.

In fact, as so often the case after previous golden weeks, many regret having chosen to travel, because the eagerly anticipated joy and relaxation proved to be nothing but a pipe dream when hundreds of millions of holidaymakers were on the move at the same time.

Across the country, numerous tourist sites were inundated by hordes of tourists far beyond their handling capacities.

The Lushan Mountain tourism authorities in Jiangxi province stopped receiving visitors at the popular site thanks to a passenger "blowout".

And dozens of thousands of travelers were stranded atop Huashan Mountain in Shaanxi province on Tuesday night.

As always, the controversy over Golden Week has resurged, with various "experts" debating ways of improving people's holidaymaking experiences.

But there is nothing new in the suggested solutions. And while more timely information sharing and travel alerts, better preparation, more reasonable distribution of resources, and better services are all essential; more needs to be done.

While there is no moral or legal ground to discourage people from joining the army of holidaymakers during peak seasons, guaranteeing people's legal rights to paid vacations will inspire voluntary decisions of when to take a vacation and so avoid the travel frenzy that occurs every Golden Week.

If government decrees are too feeble to ensure this, we need more explicit stipulations in law.

Unless the focus of the national holiday regime shifts to guaranteeing people's right to paid holidays and providing quality services, we will not see much difference this time next year.

(China Daily 10/08/2012 page8)