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10 Oct, 2013

Chinese Golden Week overcrowding dampens holidaymaker spirit


(Xinhua) October 08, 2013 – The National Day holiday which ends on Monday is just the latest chance to witness the characteristic overcrowding of Chinese holidays.

While the world-famous tourist spots such as the Forbidden City, Great Wall, West Lake of Hangzhou and Nanjing Road in Shanghai were predictably packed with tourists, other places have managed to make the headlines over the past week with their own personal brands of overcrowding and, in some cases, dysfunction.

On Oct. 2, thousands of tourists had to walk for miles till late at night to get out of Sichuan’s Jiuzhaigou Valley in West China. They had been stranded for hours due to a congestion on roads when shuttle buses were blocked by angry tourists who had failed to get on board.

The management of the park defended their service and said all of their buses were in operation, but holidaymakers accused them for selling more tickets than the park could accommodate. The park’s ticket office was in uproar after thousands of tourists demanded refund.

What happened in Jiuzhaigou Valley is not an isolated case. Last October, hundreds of tourists had a similar experience in Mount Hua where there were not enough cable cars to bring them down from the mountain top.

It is hard to expect anyone to keep cool and carry on at times like this.

Overcrowding is perennial irritant for Chinese tourists, and has generated heated discussion online.

“One effective solution to the problem of overcrowding is to abolish long holidays and carry out the policy of paid vacations,” said Weibo user “Shouzhu 168.”

For many Chinese, paid vacations are still a luxury. Though laws and regulations grant a number of days (usually between 5 and 20) of paid holidays each year for workers, this right is often ignored, especially in private companies.

Consequently, long holidays such as “golden week”, the National Day holiday, become very important to most Chinese to calm their itchy feet, although the possibility of a dissatisfaction always looms large.

For other Chinese, golden week has lost its appeal and become a “golden mess.” What should have been a relaxing holiday turns out to be nothing more than a path of pain.

“Actually, a staycation should be prescribed during traditional holidays,” said “Zhaizhairui”, another Weibo user.