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Golden Week holiday boosts tourism market
Updated: 2005-05-09 09:05

The seven-day holiday week has become a virtual opportunity for the development China's tourism market despite disputes about the rationality of the "Golden Week, " which has exerted great pressure on transportation, catering and hotel and tourism infrastructures, according to relevant experts.

China now has three "Golden Week" holidays in the year -- Spring Festival, International Labor Day, and National Day. This new holiday scheme was set up by the Chinese government in 1999 so as to boost domestic demand, stimulate consumption, and restructure the economy. As the prolonged holidays turned out to be "golden" for the economy, they became known as "Golden Week".

According to statistics published by the National Tourism Administration (NTA), during this May day holiday, China received 121 million tourists, 16 percent higher than last May day holiday, with tourism income rising by 20 percent to 46.7 billion yuan (US$5.64 billion).

"It is the pressure caused by the 'Golden Week' since it was launched seven years ago that boosted the rapid development of such industries as transportation, civil aviation, catering and hotel," said Liu Yibin, an economist.

With the unbalanced development of China's economy, those "Golden Weeks" have offered great opportunities for economic restructuring and employment expansion in popular tourist destinations, said Liu.

Furthermore, as a holiday scheme set up by the Chinese government, "Golden Week" holidays also act as a guarantee for employees of private enterprises in China to enjoy their holiday rights to some extent, said Liu.

According to Jiang Mingcheng, a master in tourism economics, China's family tourism mode will not change from the current sight-seeing mode to the mode of enjoying a real holiday until the per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) reached US$3,000 ten years later.

But the existence of the "Golden Week' system is acting as a powerful measure to protect and nurture the tourism by the Chinese people and to regulate the development of China's tourism market, said Jiang.

Problems arising in golden weeks basically result from the imbalance between rising demands for tourism of the Chinese people and deficient supply, said Huang Ziqiang, an economic analyst.

Instead of canceling the "Golden Week" system to restrain demand, China should increase supply to boost the development of the tourism market in an orderly way, said Huang.

Although China has boasted an annual tourist sum of more than one hundred million, the goal for the Chinese government in setting up the "Golden Week" system is to make all the 1.3 billion people of the country to enjoy a holiday, including consumers in towns and rural areas, said Huang.

As a response to disputes over the "Golden Week" system, the NTA wrote "deepening reforms of holiday tourism, with 'Golden Week' as the emphasis" into its recent programming of China's tourism industry.

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