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Crisis impacts holiday plans

AS the impact of the global economic crisis begins to hit home, some Chinese white-collar workers see the upcoming Spring Festival celebrations and the lack of steady work as an opportunity to escape from the stress with fun on the road while others are racking their brains to limit daily expenses.


Menaced by the crisis, many Chinese white-collar workers have discarded their travel plans during the Lunar New Year holiday to save money. However, Guan Yiwen and her friends thought otherwise.


"Because of the crisis we are not as busy as before. Many colleagues plan to ask for a two-week holiday and travel to some far-off places," said 23-year-old Guan from the Boston Consulting Group Greater China.


Guan said when she and her colleagues were really busy, there was no way to take leave, even if they were supposed to take a holiday.


"So now we have a chance and we will take it," she said. Guan said she would use some of her time to travel to some nearby places and spend the rest of the holiday with family.


Sun Jiong, a 35-year-old business worker at the Mizuno China Corporation, said he planned to travel with his parents after the Spring Festival.


"Our inland retailing business is still good, and I want to seize the chance to have some fun before business gets worse," he said.


Leo Jin, a native Shanghai resident from PricewaterhouseCoopers' Shanghai office, said during this Spring Festival he would stay at home and avoid further spending.

"Most of my out-of-town colleagues plan to go back home for the holiday," he said.


Officials expect 188 million people to travel during the coming travel rush, up 8 percent from 2008.


Earlier reports warned China might witness more job losses among city workers this year after millions of migrant workers became unemployed in 2008.


Some laid-off white-collar workers in Shanghai even set up a Website where troubled workers can talk about their experiences in coping with the crisis and relieve their pressure. On the site it says: "the Website will be closed when the Shanghai Index goes back to 6,000 points."


(Xinhua News Agency January 6, 2008)