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Government says to stick to May holiday plan

[ 2009-03-27 13:44]     字号 [] [] []  
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The State Council yesterday urged local governments to stick to the three-day May Day holiday plan, ending hopes of a return to the golden week to spur the economy.

The central government said in a notice yesterday that the public holiday arrangement should be "strictly" observed.

It comes just a day after several authorities announced plans to return to a week-long break, scrapped last year, to give a shot in the arm to the tourism industry and domestic consumption.

Officials in Guangdong province, the export hub hit hard by the financial crisis, said on Wednesday it would add two days of annual paid leave and a weekend to extend the May Day holiday.

Others followed suit, including Liaoning province, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Hangzhou city in Zhejiang province, while some planned to offer special discount coupons to urge people to spend more during the holiday.

Local officials seemed to be in the dark yesterday.

Zou Lulu, an official for the Guangdong tourism bureau, told China Daily she wasn't given any information on the May Day holiday, adding: "Nothing can be confirmed."

Yang Le, a tourism official for Jiangsu provincial capital Nanjing - a city that also planned to extend the holiday - said they had no knowledge of the State Council statement and "cannot give any information about the holiday arrangement".

During the National People's Congress meeting this month, Liu Xiaojun, spokesman for the National Tourism Administration, said local governments would be able to restore the week-long holiday on a trial basis. However, he was not available for comment yesterday.

Yao Yanbo, a tourism expert from Nankai University, said the central government move is "within expectations".

It is clear the central government "doesn't want to change the holiday policy too frequently" since the May Day golden week was cancelled just last year, she said.

"It has to make sure the existing regulation is abided by local governments," she said.

A manager surnamed Huang at Guangzhou's Sunny Holiday Travel Agency said a seven-day holiday would not necessarily help his business.

"The core of the issue lies in economy and income," he said. "If people are well paid within a good economy they will travel. But in bad times, like now, people stay at home, and watch TV - even with a seven-day break."

A People.com.cn survey this month showed 92.2 percent of the 5 million people polled backed a return to the golden week.

China created the May Day and National Day golden week holidays in 1999 to help the economy recover from the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis. But the May Day week was scrapped last year after the public complained of overcrowded traffic.

Three one-day holidays marking traditional Chinese festivals - Tomb Sweeping Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-autumn Festival - were established instead.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Government says to stick to May holiday plan

About the broadcaster:

Government says to stick to May holiday planBernice Chan is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Bernice has written for newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and most recently worked as a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, producing current affairs shows and documentaries.