Offer of extra time off work sparks a travel rush

Updated: 2016-07-29 08:13

By Shi Xiaofeng in Hangzhou(China Daily)

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A seven-day paid holiday order from the Hangzhou municipal government last month brought a rush of overseas travel arrangements by local residents and increased competition between travel agencies and domestic tourist attractions.

Hangzhou, the capital city of East China's Zhejiang province, will host the G20 Leaders Summit early in September. The municipal government released a notice on its website on June 30 that civil servants not essential to summit preparations, along with the employees of State-owned enterprises based in nine main districts of the city, can take an extra seven days of paid holiday from Sept 1 to 7.

It also suggested private enterprises offer their employees a similar amount of time off during the summit.

"I would feel bad if I wasted this extra holiday time," said Yang Tingxuan, a program manager at a magazine. Her boss decided to suspend the publication of two issues around the time of the summit.

Many people felt the same as Yang. Xiao Xue had visited the Entry-Exit Administration of the Hangzhou Public Security Bureau several times for passport-related matters. When she went the day after the notice, she was shocked by the long, winding line of people.

Travel agencies reacted quickly. A leading online travel agency, Tongcheng, set up several special routes for Hangzhou residents. Its G20 route from Hangzhou to Phuket, Thailand, and Bali, Indonesia, provided a "second person free" offer.

It also offers discount coupons.

"About 4,000 coupons were downloaded a week after the government released its off-work notice," said Li Dan, a manager at Tongcheng's Zhejiang branch.

Nearby cities and provinces are also pouncing on the potential market.

Neighboring cities in Zhejiang province-Taizhou, Wenzhou and Quzhou-provide free tickets to scenic spots for visitors with a Hangzhou identification. Jiangsu province offered an extreme incentive program under which visitors from Hangzhou can pay 1 yuan ($0.15) and enjoy classic travel service.

Kanas National Geopark in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region-the well-known scenic attraction 4,500 kilometers from Hangzhou-offered 500 free entrance tickets specifically for Hangzhou residents.