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Overcrowded holidays call for better gov't management


15:10, October 10, 2012

BEIJING, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- China's recent eight-day national holiday was an unforgettable one, especially for those who spent their vacations stuck in highway traffic and overcrowded tourist attractions.

But such situations can be avoided in the future if authorities improve management and services so that holidays can be relaxing and enjoyable rather than tiresome and stressful.

From Sept. 30 to Oct. 7, the break combined both the National Day holiday and the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival, a day meant for family reunions.

In August, the government decided to lift road tolls for passenger cars during national holidays, prompting more people to travel by car and resulting in overcrowding at tourist attractions. About 647 million drivers and passengers hit the country's highways, with accidents claiming a total of 794 lives during the eight days.

In the meantime, arguments and even violence broke out between tourists and staff at some scenic sites due to overcrowding.

These problems show that although China is trying to enact policies that benefit people and boost domestic consumption, it needs to reflect on its methods and improve social management.

For instance, exempting passenger cars from road tolls was a welcomed move, but some experts said the government should have been better prepared and done better work to estimate traffic figures.

At the beginning of the holiday, road authorities issued cards to passenger cars to help count the number of vehicles on the roads. This led to heavy traffic jams on highways, and the situation was alleviated after road authorities stopped issuing the cards.

Furthermore, some experts said the traffic jams were also caused by inadequate support facilities along highways. Passengers and drivers had to crowd into limited service areas, also resulting in more traffic jams.

As for scenic spots, tourism experts believe overcrowding could have been avoided if administrative bodies had limited the number of tourists admitted once the maximum capacity had been exceeded.

The experts also suggested that administrative bodies could employ an appointment system. Beijing's Capital Museum stopped charging admission fees over four years ago and implemented an appointment system in which only tourists who have made appointments may visit the museum. The system has played an important role in curbing overcrowding during holidays.

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