Golden Week in China begins Saturday and is a week-long national holiday that allows people seven consecutive days off in order to spend time with their families and to travel. Saturday also marks China’s National Day, which first started in 1949 when the People's Republic of China was inaugurated. At the time, the holiday was celebrated with a victory ceremony and celebration held among the 300,000 soldiers and citizens that crowded Tian’anmen Square as Mao Zedong raised the first communist flag.
This year, the China Tourism Academy estimates that 589 million people are expected to travel during Golden Week. Tourist attractions such as the ancient city of Lijiang, the Forbidden City in Beijing and the recently opened Disneyland in Shanghai are expected to be heavily populated during this annual celebration, Fortune reported Friday.
Aside from the Chinese New Year, Golden Week marks the longest public holiday in China. People travel both domestically and overseas. Those who stay in China tend to venture to Nanjing Road, a main shopping area in the city.
Countries like Singapore are preparing for Chinese tourists by offering discounts across the city-state beginning Friday, Bloomberg reported. The holiday sales are expected to help boost an economy that has fallen over the past 10 months with the exception of automobile sales.
“Chinese visitors remain very important to the retail industry,” R. Dhinakaran, chairman of the Singapore Retail Association, said.
The most popular travel destinations during Golden Week include Japan, Thailand and South Korea. During the holiday, flights and hotel rates are typically higher, leaving many high-end restaurants completely booked. Travelers are advised to make reservations as early as possible.
While there may be more flights discounted ahead of the holiday, trains are available up to 60 days prior to a departure. However, they tend to sell out within minutes of availability.
"The current system causes many people to cram all their trips into the same time periods, and this has caused a slew of negative effects, including heavy traffic congestion … a heavy burden on the environment at tourist attractions, and poor quality of experience for the tourists," a China National Tourism Administration official said last year.