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'Golden Week' boosts holiday economy
Latest Updated by 2006-05-08 10:19:12
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Golden Week witnesses increase of revenue

In a nation that for thousands of years held diligence and hard work in the highest esteem, the Chinese have learned to relax, travel and loosen their wallets since their country began its thrice annual holidays seven years ago, known as Golden Weeks.

When the first golden week holiday was initiated on a trial basis, to celebrate National Day in Oct. 1999, China was astonished to see Chinese tourists take 28 million person trips while spending 14.1 billion yuan (about 1.62 billion US dollars).

Tourists in China, nevertheless, have seemingly never looked back since that first full week off.

The office that coordinates national tourism predicts this week's golden week, to mark May Day or International Labour Day, is expected to witness a record high 120 million person-trips taken by Chinese tourists. If past trends hold true they will likely spend more than 40 billion yuan (approximately 5 billion US dollars.

According to cumulative statistics following 1999 Chinese took 1.3 billion trips and spent more than 560.6 billion yuan (some 70.1 billion US dollars) during the past golden weeks.

The World Tourism Organization estimates that every tourist dollar will generate 4.3 times that amount in economic spin-off. This would mean the country's golden weeks have been worth over two trillion yuan to the Chinese economy.

Yang Shengming, a noted researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences says that the golden week holidays have meant big changes to China's economic development. The tourism industry has grown by responding to the demands of consumers, Yang acknowledged.

Up until the mid 1990's workers in China used to put in six-day work weeks and only had a long weekend or two off during the year. Now if all weekends and holidays are counted workers can enjoy up to 114 days off or about a third of the year is spent in leisure time.

A sample survey made by Prof. Wang Qiyan, director of the leisure economy research institute of the prestigious Renmin (People's) University in Beijing, found that the average daily leisure time for Chinese urbanites is six hours and six minutes.

The increase of leisure time has spurred a boom to the leisure industry. In such major cities as Beijing, Shanghai municipality in east China and Gangzhou, capital city of South China's Guangdong Province, recreation has become an engine for urban economy development.

Having an entire week off also means that Chinese tourists have enough time to head out of the country. Last year, the number of outbound mainland tourists reached up to 31 million, making China the largest exporter of tourists in Asia.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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