Aug 01, 2016

    Hangzhou's paid leave for G20 a boon for tourism


    A SEVEN-DAY paid holiday order from the Hangzhou municipal government sparked a rush of overseas travel arrangements by local residents and intensified competition between

    travel agencies and

    domestic attractions.

    Hangzhou, in eastern Zhejiang province, will

    host the G20 Leaders Summit early next month.

    The municipal government posted a

    notice on its website

    on June 30 that civil servants not essential to summit preparations,

    along with the staff of state-owned enterprises

    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 firms offer 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 programme manager at a magazine. Her boss decided to suspend the publication of two issues around the time of the summit.

    Travel agencies reacted quickly. A leading online set-up, Tongcheng, came

    up with several options.

    Its G20 route, for instance, includes Phuket

    in Thailand and Bali, Indonesia. 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 Taizhou, Wenzhou and Quzhou are providing free tickets to scenic spots for visitors with a Hangzhou identification.

    In Jiangsu province, visitors from Hangzhou

    can pay just one yuan

    (20 Singapore cents)

    for classic travel service.

    The scenic Kanas National Geopark in Xinjiang also dangled

    500 free entry tickets

    for Hangzhou residents.