China’s ‘Golden Week’ holidays have turned into logistical nightmares. Millions start off at the same time for a holiday and plainly, according to a growing number of economists, this is not a good idea in a nation which is moving into center position on the world stage.
Accept without argument that abolishing the holidays altogether would not be a popular move. On the other hand, staggering them to relieve the congestion would be possible and possibly popular.
‘Golden Weeks have both positive and negative effects,’ said Ning Xiangdong, an economist from Beijing’s Tsinghua University. ‘People go traveling all over China, and that’s great for the economy, but it also creates traffic problems, and the facilities are not geared to handling so many tourists.’
A total of 150 million Chinese have squeezed on trains, buses and planes for the seven day holiday. Note that this is not an age-old tradition in China. It was only in 1999 that the Chinese government introduced three week-long holidays — May Day, the October 1 National Day, and the Spring Festival, which falls in January or February every year. At the time China was being hammered by the Asian financial crisis and needed room to breathe. Bringing in the holidays.
Now the country is growing very quickly — double digit growth for four years and a strong expectancy of something like that for the next four years — the argument for the holidays is more negative than positive.
Hu Xingdou, a professor of economics at the Beijing Institute of Technology, said, ‘If you look at the contribution of the Golden Weeks to the economy, the effect is approaching zero.’
Staggering them is a viable option.’The cabinet is considering staggering the Golden Week holidays and letting people choose themselves when to have them,’ said He Jianmin, a tourism expert at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. ‘The number of days off will remain the same, but it’s preferable to allow people to make their own choice.’
Will the people accept this? Probably.
A poll of 40,000 people conducted by popular Internet portal sohu.com in December showed that 65% were in favor of replacing the current system with something else.
Source: Yahoo News
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