holiday economy


holiday economy
(jieri jingji)
To pre-empt a perceived slowdown of the economy in the late 1990s, the Chinese government lengthened the National Day holiday to a week on 1 October 1999 and did the same to the International Labour Day on 1 May 2000. The move was designed to encourage the Chinese to spend their bank savings, the world’s largest, so as to boost the economy. This was hence known as the ‘holiday economy’ (jieri jingji). As a result, the country is experiencing waves of travel mania each year. Statistics show that over 24 million Chinese travelled and spent about US$3.5 billion during the first week of May 2001 alone. Those who stayed behind were also kept busy shopping during the week. Retail sales in Beijing soared more than 40 per cent and even slightly more in Shanghai.
Hotel reservations in popular tourist destinations like Guilin, Xiamen, Sanya and Zhangjiajie exceeded 80 per cent.
Opinions differ. Some argue that the ‘holiday economy’ may not help consumption because consumers tend to curtail spending after holiday sprees. While tourism-related businesses may reap profits, other sectors have to suffer. And with many people on vacation all at once, problems like traffic congestion, overbooking and overcrowding do increase. Complaints abound. Some are discouraged to ‘purchase headaches’ caused by such problems and poor services. Others have come to realize the inflexibility and inadequacy of universal weeklong holidays. They want to see the establishment of a paid vacation system that allows individuals to decide when to travel and to spend time with family.
YUAN HAIWANG

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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