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China's "Golden Week" for relaxation and exploration

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

10-01-2015 09:31 BJT

By Tom McGregor, CNTV Commentator

China's National "Golden Week" holiday begins this Thursday, Oct. 1 when Chinese citizens celebrate the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Meanwhile, most Chinese people and expatriates living and working in the country are looking forward to R&R (rest and relaxation) and deservedly so.

For many, Golden Week could not come a moment too soon. Yet, many Chinese families may not experience any relaxation at all, since they are expected to contend with huge traffic jams, over-crowded trains stations and airports. Millions upon millions of the Chinese plan to make journeys either in their country or to foreign lands.

They recognize the perils of traveling during the National holidays, but that won't stop them from going ahead on their excursions, whether it's convenient or not.

R&R for the masses, well not really

The Western perspective of vacation differs from China’s understanding. Western-based employees are required to schedule their personal vacations at different times than their colleagues to avoid unnecessary work stoppages. But many Chinese workers can only take leisure trips during the National holidays.

Consequently, Westerners can enjoy more privacy with their families, whereas most Chinese must endure visiting over-crowded sites as they follow a crowd of strangers rushing from one sight to another on tight schedules. They are likely to bring along their extended families, which can add to the stress.

Journeys at home or abroad

The ChinaAbsoluteTours Website reports that, "according to statistics of the China National Tourism Bureau, arrivals in the whole country, including 31 provinces, autonomous regions and directly governed cities reached up to 475 million," during last year’s Golden Week.

Nearly half-a-billion Chinese had taken trips during the National holiday. Additionally, millions more of them traveled beyond borders of the Greater China Region with the most popular destinations: South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.

The Chinese are most partial to taking sightseeing tours with organized groups to reduce their travel costs. However, they must follow the tour guide’s strict instructions and have no freedom to make divergent schedules to escape the drama.

Nevertheless, as "China Goes Global," expect to see a rising popularity for the Chinese to buy into Western-style vacation tour packages, where they can travel alone or with their families and set their own pace for sightseeing schedules. This offers more privacy, freedom and relaxation for them.

Golden Week is here to stay

Golden Week is expected to be stressful for Chinese families. Workers may even wish to return to their jobs as soon as possible when finding themselves stuck in paralyzing traffic jams, shoved around on a sightseeing tour or getting footsore after walking all day long.

Nevertheless, the Chinese have grown accustomed to such circumstances as their rites of passage to honor Golden Week. For Westerners, vacation means R&R, but for the Chinese, it's their opportunity to explore their homeland or go abroad for memories that will last a lifetime.

Some skeptics are calling for Beijing to abandon its National holiday system and permit Chinese workers to select their vacation schedules at their own leisure. Yet, many Chinese, despite difficulties, prefer to keep their Golden Week on the first week of October. Well, so be it.

Go ahead and enjoy vacation, wherever you may be

In all likelihood, Golden Week may not be the ideal vacation time for you, but whether you really are having a great time or struggling to survive visits to over-crowded sites, just take a deep breath and relax. Let Golden Week be golden for you and your family.




( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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