[photopress:golden_week.jpg,full,alignright]The Golden Week concept created more problems than it solved. It strained the transport system, drove away overseas visitors — a source of revenue — and generally created havoc. In the current state of relative prosperity they are an anachronism and now the word is the government is likely to scrap up its ‘golden week’ holiday system and make public holidays of more traditional festivals by 2009.
Zhang Hui, dean of the tourism administration department at Beijing International Studies University, told a forum in Xiamen, east China’s Fujian Province the week-long May Day holiday would be shortened to one day and the National Day holiday to two days.
Zhang Hui said the conclusion was drawn from discussions among domestic tourism experts.
According to a story published in the China Youth Daily experts suggested choosing three traditional festivals as public holidays.
Zhang Hui said, ‘Experts all agree that Mid-Autumn Day should be set as a public holiday and the government can choose two more from the Lantern Festival, the Tomb-Sweeping Day, the Dragon-Boat Festival and Double Nine Day.’
In addition, compulsory paid vacations, which might be written into the labor law, would be granted to employees. This is the key. Unless these holidays are written into law then many smaller employers will simply forget about them.
In theory the law will be that each person will have a basic seven-day paid leave a year, increasing by one day for every year of employment. The longest paid leave would not exceed 14 days.
How does that compare to other countries? If you look at Germany or Australia it is woeful. On the other hand, if you look at the United States it is not too bad at all.
One confusion arises from the term ‘golden week’ of which China currently has three. They are not weeks. The are for the Spring Festival, Labor Day and National Day holidays and are actually only three days holiday as a weekend on one side of the holiday is designated as two working days.
Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year, is something else again. It is a golden week of long, long standing-tradition and Zhang Hui said it would be preserved.
The ‘golden week’ holidays were introduced in October 1999 to boost tourism and holiday consumption. They are well past their usefulness.