China is known for its complicated holiday system. Traditional festivals and holidays combine with official holidays to create a complicated schedule that could bring even an experienced traveler to tears. Not only is the holiday schedule confusing, some of the holidays are long, lasting several days or more.
Twice a year, China celebrates what are known as “Golden Weeks.” The first is the “Chinese Lunar New Year Golden Week” and typically takes place in January or February. The second Golden week celebrated in China is “National Day Golden Week” and it takes place around the beginning of October. Until 2007, China celebrated a third Golden Week during the first part of May. During the Golden Weeks, workers receive three days of paid holidays and the adjacent weekends are arranged to give a full seven days of time off.
Originally started by the Chinese government in 1999, the Golden Weeks were meant to benefit China by expanding the Chinese domestic tourist market. It was thought that the additional time off would allow people to travel farther to visit family and that the increased commerce would raise the standard of living. Many Chinese travel during Golden Week, with over 400 million trips taken by Chinese tourists during this time.
This increase in living standards has meant that the people of China have rising levels of disposable or discretionary income. With more money to spend, the Chinese travel more, especially during the Golden Weeks. Popular destinations for tourists are now increasingly crowded and some are overwhelmed with visitors. Highways are filled with travelers and traffic problems are common.
Government offices, schools and other civil service facilities close on official holidays. Necessary services, including the public transportation system, will continue normal service. Post offices and banks will typically close satellite branches, leaving only main offices in big cities open. Hotels, restaurants, and popular destinations are crowded and expensive during these times, so most travel agents will advise foreign tourists to avoid going to China during the Golden Weeks.
From a manufacturing perspective, factories will also close for business. Because ITI is familiar with Chinese holidays we can help you with planning for them. Contact us for more information and for a free quote!