Less people travel for China's golden week

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2011

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Flag of China  ,
Friday, October 3, 2008

A reduced holiday period, a slowing economy, less money in peoples pockets - and perhaps less Chinese travelling this holiday period.

China Daily covers it by saying:

Some Chinese chill out at home amid Golden Week

LANZHOU -- Many Chinese chose to travel during this current week-long national holiday celebrating the nation's founding, but young journalist Zhang Jing just wanted to stay home.

"I'm always busy at work and I couldn't really relax, even going back home," said Zhang.

As for traveling during the holiday, "all scenic sites are crowded. I just want to stay home, reading, cooking and surfing the internet."

Zhang's choice illustrates the widening options people have to mark big holidays in China.

People began taking long holidays of seven consecutive days in 1999, using weekends to extend the May Day, National Day and Spring Festival breaks. But a reform of the national holiday system this year reduced the week-long May Day break to just one day, while it increased the number of national holidays annually from 10 to 11 days.

Retired machinist Zhang Lishun couldn't have imagined this situation decades ago.

He started to work in the 1960s in an electric machinery factory here in the capital of the northwestern Gansu Province.

"In those days, we had no concept of 'rest'," he recalled. "In fact, we always worked overtime, sometimes the whole night." He worked so many hours that his eyesight deteriorated tremendously.

Zhang said he believed that holiday arrangements that give people more time off are based on "a scientific idea".

The retiree said that the long holiday was a rare chance for all family members to get together. "It is my happiest moment to have a jolly dinner with everybody else," he said.

According to an online survey, 21.5 percent of the respondents shared his view of "visiting relatives" as a holiday option, while another 29.1 percent chose to stay at home like journalist Zhang. Those planning to travel accounted for 37.9 percent.

In the eyes of Liu Qianli, a white-collar bank worker, the most crowded places during golden weeks used to be supermarkets and shopping malls. "At that time, we didn't know how to spend the long holiday. Our goal seemed to be simply spending money," she said.

Now, she said, "with higher living standards, we attach more importance to spiritual pursuits, in addition to the material enjoyment."

People's holiday choices reflected their view of happiness, according to Liu Man, a professor with the department of Chinese studies of Lanzhou University. He said choice in itself was also making people happy.
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