Opinion / From the Press

Flexible vacations can ease tourism deficit

By Li Yang ( Updated: 2014-09-25 11:35

China must introduce more flexible paid vacations, giving people the right to choose when to enjoy their holiday and consumer-rights protection authorities should improve the domestic consumption environment, says an article of the 21st Century Business Herald.


The China Tourism Academy predicts 480 million Chinese will travel, at home and abroad, and spend 270 billion yuan ($45 billion) during next week’s National Day holiday. China’s trade deficit in tourism will hit $100 billion this year.

Average Chinese personal spending while travelling overseas last year was $1,368, three times that of foreign tourists in China. It is known in developed economies that Chinese tourists have very strong purchasing power and shopping demands. Retailers try their best to provide Chinese-speaking shop assistants and make it easier to make purchases with cards issued by banks in China.

Tourism became a deficit trade for China after 2009 and three years later overtook Germany as the largest tourism deficit country in the world. The deficit is why Chinese people regard foreign countries as a shopper’s paradise.

On the one hand, lower prices, reliable quality, strict protection of consumer rights and tax returns in developed economies pose a sharp contrast with the consumption environment at home.

On the other, China has not yet widely spread the paid vacation. That hundreds of millions have holidays at the same time in “golden week” - a plan to boost domestic consumption dating from 1999 - is not conducive to develop a healthy holiday culture. Traffic congestion, crowded scenic spots and difficulty in booking accommodation can turn a vacation into a nightmare.


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