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Another record Golden Week
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08:22, October 06, 2008

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The weeklong National Day holiday again brought a record number of tourists and retail revenue, despite continued controversy over the decade-old Golden Week vacation system.

More than 18.29 million people visited 119 major tourist destinations nationwide between Sept 29 and Oct 5, a 13.2 percent increase year-on-year, National Tourism Administration statistics showed.

Retail sales of consumer products during the holiday surged 21 percent year-on-year to reach 420 billion yuan ($61 billion), the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday.

The capital remained one of the top choices for travelers during the holidays.

"Although most tourist spots have attracted a growing number of visitors, Beijing was still the first choice for most tourists during the Golden Week because of the Olympic Games," said Jia Shuo, an employee with the Beijing Great Wall International Travel Agency.

Zhang Jinling, who visited Beijing from Shandong province, agreed.

"The Water Cube, the Bird's Nest and the Olympic Village are must-see places for every Chinese," the 26-year-old said.

Many Olympic venue cities, such as Tianjin, Shanghai, and Qingdao, also experienced peak tourist arrivals during the Golden Week.

Despite overcrowding at tourist attractions, dense traffic jams, price hikes and ticket-purchasing difficulties, Chinese people remained enthusiastic about the National Day holiday.

Tsinghua University professor Cai Jiming, an advocate of the country's holiday reforms, recently said the weeklong vacation was not intended to remain in place over the long term and the National Day Golden Week should be abandoned.

More than 80 percent of respondents in an online survey by Baidu.com opposed suggestions to cancel the National Day Golden Week, because they would not have enough time to travel or enjoy family reunions otherwise.

Only 8 percent of respondents agreed to do away with the vacation period.

"After the May Day holiday was scrapped, I could only go back to my hometown in Heilongjiang province to see my parents twice a year - that is, during the National Day and Spring Festival period," said Wu Jialu, a 25-year-old worker in Beijing.

"I am strongly against canceling the National Day holiday."

Source: China Daily

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