BEIJING, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Short-distance tour
packages become more attractive to Chinese people who are enjoying the first
shortened May Day holidays since 1999.
The May Day holidays, from May 1 on, was shortened
since this year from a week to three days.
A Beijing-based on-line travel agency said most
travelers from Beijing chose to visit cities or coastlines nearby rather than
destinations across the country.
Meanwhile, many travel agencies complained that
overseas journeys are not as attractive as they were to May Day travelers in the
past couple of years.
"Travelers have more money, but they don't have
enough time in the May Day case," a travel agent said.
Rates of most overseas tour packages are reduced by
at least 15percent compared with those in last year. But buyers declined by one
third before the May Day holidays start. People are still avid to visit Hong
Kong and Macao, which are near to the mainland, but reluctant to buy tour
packages to Southeast Asia or Europe.
Statistics from the railway also supported the trend
of short journeys. Many car owners would rather take rides to suburban
excursions, which makes attractions and vacation sites near cities extremely
The government decided in 1999 to design two more
holiday weeks on May Day and National Day, in addition to the Spring Festival
holiday week, to spur domestic spending to offset the economic downturn
triggered by the Asian financial crisis in 1997.
The holidays called "golden weeks" immediately saw
tides of tourists and rocketing sales earning but also strained transport and
other service capabilities, causing complains from holiday makers.
The government decided to shorten the May Day
holidays last year but added two other days to the national holiday
package--Qingming, or Tomb Sweeping Day in spring, and Mid-Autumn Day since