Ah, May Holiday – one of China’s shimmering Golden Week vacations. Just a quick little reminder what awaits any laowai silly enough to venture outside and catch up on travel next week.
Spring Festival, May Holiday (Labour Day), and October Holiday (National Day) were turned into three “Golden Weeks” in 1999 as an experiment by the government to boost domestic tourism and allow people living far away from family a chance to return home.
There has been a lot of debate over this “clumping” of national holidays, with detractors arguing that it’s done little to boost the economy and has caused a sharp decline in the quality of service, and the services available – train ticket availability, hotel and plane prices, large crowds, closed business, etc.
The suggestion is to spread the holidays across traditional Chinese days of celebration (Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, and Tomb Sweeping Day). For 2007, however, the PRC will be maintaining the “Golden Weeks”.
So, stock up on your baijiu, canned goods and fāngbiàn miàn. And to those that venture forth – know that we’ll always remember you fondly.