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"Golden Week" holidays loses favour: survey
Updated: 2004-10-21 01:07

Although the recent week-long National Day holiday generated an expected economic boom, the " Golden Week" holidays are losing their charm for more and more Chinese people, a nationwide survey shows.

During the recent week-long holiday, China received 101 million tourists nationwide and reaped 39.7 billion yuan ( 4.8 billion dollars) in tourism, the best "harvest" since China introduced two extra "Golden Week" holidays in 1999.

However, the "Golden Week" also put unprecedented pressure on the country's transportation system and service industry.

 Compared with the ardent welcome the holiday received several years ago, 44 percent of Chinese citizens prefer "free and flexible holidays with payments maintained" instead of fixed holidays, according to a survey conducted by the Beijing-based Zero Survey Net.com (ZSN), which chose 3,502 people at random from 10 big and medium cities.

 The term means employers should allow employees 10 to 15 days of paid holiday per year, with employees deciding when and how to spend the holiday adjusting to their work.

The survey shows that youth from 18 to 39, singles, couples with a child under 14 and couples living with their parents prefer choice the most.

 Meanwhile, the middle-aged over 40 also favor accumulating all their holidays and spending them with their families, said the survey.

Too many jams in transportation, restaurants, hotels and scenic spots resulted in people's disfavor with the current "Golden week. "

"There are too many people almost everywhere. Even in the toilet, people have to wait in a long queue," said Wang Fan, a student from the prestigious Tsinghua University who traveled in the holiday.

 According to statistics released by the National Holiday Office, about 13.07 million people visited China's 99 major tourist attractions in the holiday, or 18,900 people per attraction per day. The average Chinese tourist attraction, however, can only handle 5,000 to 6,000 visitors, otherwise damages would be inevitable.

 At Wuhan Nine Peaks Zoo in central China's Hubei Province, a one-thousand-year-old "immortal turtle" was trod to death by visitors, as too many of them tried to gain some divinity from it.

 Official complaints about poor tourist,transportation and shopping services numbered 102, 60 and 17, increasing 55.2 percent, 57.9 percent, 240 percent respectively from last year's holiday.

Even for business, the "Golden Week" does not ensure long-term commercial prosperity, as "rush consumption" during the holiday often results in a consumption slump afterward.

 The figures from an anonymous chain group show it reaped 140 million yuan (16.9 million dollars) during last year's National Day holiday and got 470 million ( 56.8 million dollars ) by the end of October, still less than its sales income 520 million (62.9 million) of the previous month.

 China should enact a system with flexible paid holidays, said professor Chen Jiangwen, a sociologist at Lanzhou University.

"Only more flexible holidays can satisfy the traveling desire of Chinese people while avoiding huge consumption imbalance between the 'Golden Week' and usual times," said Chen.

Currently, China haa three "Golden Week" holidays, the May Day holiday, the National Day holiday, and the Spring Festival holiday.

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