CHINA> Regional
May Day holiday reverts to 7 days in Guangdong
By Zhan Lisheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-03-26 09:08

GUANGZHOU: Guangdong's provincial government Wednesday announced its plan to revive the May Day golden week holiday.

The government will advance the following Saturday and Sunday and add two days from the residents' annual paid holiday to the three-day vacation from May 1 to 3, which is the same nationwide, to restore golden week.

Guangdong is the first and only province in China to be given a green light to launch the pilot scheme since the government shortened the May Day holiday from seven days to three in 2007 to ease the burden of overcrowded tourist hotspots and reallocate holidays.

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"The scheme is applicable to governmental and State-funded sectors, schools and State-owned enterprises, as well as organizations based in Guangdong but have branches elsewhere. Private sector enterprises and self-employed people in the province are also being encouraged to follow the pattern," said Liu Xiaojie, deputy secretary-general of the provincial government Wednesday.

He said the State authorities approved the plan, which was based on extensive suggestions and proposals made by the public, including netizens.

"The scheme, a part of the province's national travel and recreation program initiated in February with the approval of the State tourism authority, is expected to spur the holiday economy at the time of economic recession," he said.

However, he was not sure if the scheme would be repeated next year.

"The arrangement is, beyond doubt, good news for travel agencies," said Huang Weizhe, a director of Guangzhou GZL International Travel Service. "We have made massive advance bookings with hotels and airline companies at home and abroad in advance, based on our optimism over the arrangement."

Huang said the holiday would be even more cost effective for residents as people elsewhere would not have the same privileges. "The expenses will be lower and the destinations less overcrowded."

Zhang Yuying, from downtown Guangzhou, told China Daily Wednesday: "I'm just very happy with the news. With a week-long holiday, I will surely go sightseeing."