People watch a dolphin show at a safari park in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. The province hopes to boost tourism by encouraging people to have longer holidays.
The national tourism administration is set to give the go-ahead to authorities in Guangdong to pilot a National Travel and Recreation Program this month, Guangzhou Daily reported over the weekend.
"The program is likely to start at the end of February," the report quoted an anonymous official as saying.
"Guangdong will be the first to pilot the program," he said.
Under the program, the provincial tourism bureau will select "pilot units", which will be encouraged to allow their employees to take paid vacations, especially before or after the May Day holiday.
The province will also be required to increase financial support for its tourism industry, improve facilities and infrastructure, and lower ticket prices to attractions to encourage more visitors.
"If the pilot works, more people in Guangdong will be able to take a long May Day vacation," the report said.
The May Day holiday was last year cut from seven days to three.
Some members of the Guangdong committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference have called for the reintroduction of the seven-day break to help boost consumption during the global economic crisis.
As Guangdong will be the first province to pilot the National Travel and Recreation Program, it is reasonable for it also to apply to become a pilot province for a weeklong May Day holiday, Mai Kejun, a member of the Guangdong CPPCC, told China Daily.
Mai, who is also president of Guangdong Hop Lap Motors Trading Co Ltd, said: "This will be particularly meaningful at a time when the province's foreign-oriented economic development is being affected by the financial crisis.
"A long holiday will help to boost consumption and benefit a wide range of industries, such as tourism, railway, civil aviation, hotel, telecom, commerce and banking," she said.
(China Daily February 17, 2009)