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Packed China Tourist Sites May Spur Paid-Leave Reform, CCTV Says

China’s overcrowded trains, roads and tourist sites during the week-long National Day holiday may spur the country of more than 1.3 billion people to speed up reforms that ensure paid leave for workers, state television reported.

Chinese companies rarely grant requests for vacation time, which combined with growing tourism demand in the world’s second-largest economy, has led to surges in travel during the so-called “Golden Week” holiday Oct. 1-7, China Central Television reported. That’s added impetus to more quickly implement rules that guarantee paid leave, the broadcaster reported yesterday, citing “experts” it didn’t identify.

Authorities in February introduced a plan to “basically” implement a paid annual leave system by 2020, without laying out specific steps. Chinese law already affords workers the right to paid leave, CCTV reported. What China doesn’t currently have is a mechanism for punishing companies that don’t allow employees to take that leave, the state broadcaster said.

An estimated 430 million people traveled during the holiday that ended yesterday, according to the China Tourism Academy. The number of visitors to China’s top 125 tourist attractions during this year’s seven-day break rose 6.8 percent from a year ago to 31.2 million, the China National Tourism Administration said on its website yesterday.

‘People Sea’

A common Chinese refrain for those that plan to visit scenic sites during national holidays is that they will only be able to see “people mountain, people sea.”

The holiday travel surge left more than 4,000 visitors to Jiuzhaigou valley, a World Heritage site in the southwestern province of Sichuan famous for its colorful water pools, stranded until 10 p.m. on Oct. 2 because buses out of the park couldn’t cope with the influx of people, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Oct. 3.

The number of visitors to Beijing’s Forbidden City during the holiday was more than double the maximum estimate by the site’s administrators, CCTV reported yesterday.

More than 70 million passengers rode the nation’s rail network during the holiday, setting a record, Xinhua reported yesterday, citing statistics from the China Railway Corporation. Travel on roads and waterways rose 6 percent from a year earlier to about 615 million journeys, the news agency reported, citing the Ministry of Transport.

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