The Golden Week – Half a country on the move!

Golden Week in China has a duration of two week-long holiday consisting of one week either in January or February which celebrates the Spring Festival, and the second week known as the National Day Golden Week which begins on October 1st. Three days of paid holiday are given, and the surrounding weekends are re-arranged so that workers in Chinese companies always have seven continuous days of holiday. These national holidays were first started by the government for the PRC’s National Day in 1999 and are primarily intended to help expand the domestic tourism market and improve the national standard of living, as well as allowing people to make long-distance family visits.

The Golden Weeks are a great time for companies already in China or seeking to engage China to reflect on how they are faring, whether they are making goods or selling their products there. Most failures come back to a lack of understanding the importance and complexities of integrating Chinese history (including National Day), language, society and philosophy into building successful relationships in China. During these periods of time, most factory, warehouse and office workers are given their vacation at the same time so that the factory or office can close down completely. Millions of migrant workers travel to their home within China, and more affluent Chinese heading for holidays abroad. This cumulates in half of China’s population hitting the roads, rails and airports over just a few days, resulting in chaos. And because of this, the railway system collapses with long queues and the occasional dispute, while tempers at airports are as short as the wait for tickets is long.

The growing popularity of China’s Golden Week over the past 18 years has seen the number of tourists and their spending hit record highs in 2016. But it is not ideal to travel to China during the golden weeks as rates of hotel and flight prices are significantly increased. Tourist attractions are exceptionally busy.

The latest official statistics show a total of 593 million tourists visited attractions around the country during the Golden Week holiday, up to 12.8 per cent on year and the spending rose 14.4 per cent on year to 482.2bn RMB ($59.2bn). Not only do tourists make a great source of economical income, but so do Chinese consumers which according to WWD ( a fashion-industry trade journal), they spent a huge $180 billion dollars in 2016 and was a significant increase in sales figures (10.7 percent) from Golden Week in 2015.

The future of China’s Golden Weeks is uncertain as the stress is places on Chinese transport systems is immense, as well as the number of people who hit major sights has seen the Chinese government mute the idea of breaking up the weeks and instead having holidays spread out across the year. This means it will follow the Hong Kong system where the holidays are focused around traditional holidays; such as the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

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