After the weeklong National Day Holiday, people have returned to work, though not everybody basked in the glory of an extended vacation. For many employees, the heavy burden of work means holidays lasting several days is a rare and hard-won occurrence. However, tourist numbers at many domestic attractions and sites peaked during the Golden Week, with people forced to choose between staying at home and struggling against the tide of tourists.
Many people have the appeal for longer holidays since the current public offerings are inadequate. However, prolonging holidays may not be the optimum solution. The length of official Chinese holidays, totaling 11 days, has exceeded the international average. Yet people still find holidays insufficient as the intervals between holidays can be extensive. The policy of paid annual leave has also not been fully implemented in China.
In many countries, employees benefit from official holidays in addition to paid annual leave, eschewing the crowds witnessed during Chinese holidays. It is thought that merely extending public holidays may impact domestic economic development adversely and fail to reduce congestion at attractions. The policy of paid annual leave needs to be better carried out in China to provide a feasible solution to the problem.
The policy needs to go further than simply adding more days to a holiday entitlement. Relevant sectors need to strengthen supervision and formulate comprehensive supporting policies to ensure its implementation.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in China Youth Daily on October 9)