'Golden Week' losing its luster

'Golden Week' losing its luster

CHINA - Hou Xin, a native of Harbin city in Heilongjiang province, has been working at a public relations consultancy in Beijing for eight years. This year's National Day holiday, often known as "Golden Week", was the first time that both his and his wife's parents have visited them in the Chinese capital.

Hou and his wife Yang Rui, a kindergarten teacher, had planned to show their relatives around famous tourist sites. In preparation, they had devised a detailed list of departure times, a timetable for each visit and earmarked places to eat.

However, halfway through the seven-day holiday the family group had only visited the Summer Palace and the Palace Museum.

The four parents refused to visit any other sites, complaining that they were too tired after fighting through the crowds. Moreover, they said they had not seen any of the beauty spots because of the overcrowding.

Hou and Yang weren't the only ones to be disappointed with the holiday crowds and traffic. Countless tourists also felt the same way. Complaints about the holiday, which people jokingly referred to as a "paid painful journey", came from all quarters.

Now, experts have suggested extending the holiday or even reintroducing the weeklong Labor Day holiday in May to reduce the flow of tourists.

More harm than good?

Some even claimed the holiday does more harm than good to both the health of the tourists and the development of the economy, and advised the widespread introduction of paid vacations instead of the current system of long, nationwide holidays.

Tourist resorts came under severe pressure because of the sudden influx of visitors and measures to cap numbers were employed in some of the most popular places. The National Holiday Office received 55 complaints from irate tourists on Wednesday and Thursday.

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