Golden Week: A Celebration of Culture, Travel, and Economic Boost

Golden Week: Embracing Culture, Travel, and Economic Growth

Golden Week, a term associated with several countries in East Asia, is a holiday period known for extended breaks, increased tourism, and lively celebrations. Originating in China, Golden Week has expanded to other nations, including Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Golden Week is primarily celebrated through government policies aimed at boosting the domestic tourism industry and enhancing the overall quality of life in the country. It also serves as a time for people to embark on extended journeys to visit distant family members.

Golden Week in China is a week-long holiday from October 1 to 7 each year. It starts on China's National Day, which marks the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. During this time, most people in China take time off work, and it's a popular time for travel and family visits. This article explores the origins of Golden Week, its positive impact on the social and economic fronts, its significance in each country, and its influence on tourism in China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.


Golden Week: A Celebration of Culture, Travel, and Economic Boost
Tenth National Day Celebration


Origin of Golden Week:

Golden Week finds its roots in the National Day of the People's Republic of China, which commemorates the founding of the country on October 1st, 1949. National Day, officially known as the National Day of the People's Republic of China, is a special public holiday in China celebrated every year on October 1st. It marks an important event in China's history when Mao Zedong officially declared the establishment of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949. This declaration followed the Chinese Communist Party's victory in the Chinese Civil War, which led to the Republic of China retreating to Taiwan, and the birth of the People's Republic of China.

Even though it is officially on October 1st, this holiday is extended to a total of seven days, which includes the two weekends around October 1st. This extended break is commonly referred to as Golden Week.


Positive Effects on Socio-Economy:

Golden Week has a substantial and positive impact on the social and economic aspects of the countries where it is observed. This extended holiday period serves as a catalyst for increased consumer spending, promotes domestic tourism, and enriches cultural experiences. It offers individuals a chance to discover their own nation, explore tourist destinations, and engage in diverse events and festivals. The upsurge in consumer spending during Golden Week significantly bolsters economic growth, leading to notable benefits in sectors such as retail, hospitality, transportation, and entertainment.

Golden Week: A Celebration of Culture, Travel, and Economic Boost
East Asia


Importance of Golden Week:

Golden Week holds significant importance in the cultural and social tapestry of the nations that observe it. It symbolizes national pride, unity, and the accomplishments of each country. This holiday period enables people to reconnect with their heritage, contemplate cultural customs, and value the shared history and principles that unite their communities. It also serves as a time for family gatherings, reinforcing connections and forging cherished memories.




Golden Week and Tourism:

Golden Week has a significant impact on the tourism industry. During this period, millions of people travel within their own country or venture abroad. Both domestic and international tourists use the extended break to explore new destinations, immerse themselves in local traditions, and experience diverse cultures. The surge in tourists during Golden Week provides a boost to businesses related to tourism, creates job opportunities, and stimulates economic growth in the tourism sector.


Golden Week: A Celebration of Culture, Travel, and Economic Boost
Great Wall of China


Golden Week in China:

In China, Golden Week stands out as the most important holiday period of the year. It involves a massive migration of people, both within the country and internationally. Chinese tourists explore well-known domestic attractions like the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Army, and the picturesque landscapes of Guilin. Many also opt to travel abroad, making a significant contribution to the global tourism industry.

During China's eight-day Golden Week holiday, inbound and outbound trips increased significantly, reaching 85% of pre-pandemic levels which ended on 6th October, 2023. The National Immigration Administration reported an average of 1.477 million passenger trips per day during this extended holiday, driven by the overlap of the Mid-Autumn festival and the National Day holiday.

This rebound in travel is a positive sign for tourism-related businesses globally, as Chinese tourists were among the biggest spenders abroad before the pandemic, with spending totaling $255 billion in 2019. Additionally, spending on domestic trips during the holiday exceeded pre-pandemic levels, averaging 911.6 yuan per trip, and travelers made 826 million trips within mainland China, up 71.3% from the previous year.

The logistics industry faces challenges during Golden Week due to reduced staff at ports and factories, leading to potential delays in production and shipments. The rush before Golden Week strains logistics services, causing high demand and limited space, often resulting in cargo delivery delays. Companies unprepared for Golden Week may experience logistical gridlock, emphasizing the importance of advanced planning. After Golden Week, shipping companies reduce capacity, affecting routes to Europe and North America, highlighting the ongoing issue of overcapacity.


Golden Week in Japan:

Golden Week in Japan is a special time with a cluster of national holidays at the end of April and the beginning of May, allowing many workers to enjoy about a week off. It begins with Showa Day on April 29, followed by Constitution Memorial Day on May 3, and Children's Day on May 5. May 4 is also a holiday in between.

It is a time when Japanese people embrace their traditions, visit family graves, and participate in cultural festivals like the Hakata Dontaku in Fukuoka and the Kanda Matsuri in Tokyo. Popular tourist destinations such as Kyoto, Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hiroshima experience a surge in visitors during this period, making it a prime time for tourism-related businesses.

The term "Golden Week" originated from movie companies encouraging people to watch films during this opportunity. It has since been widely adopted to refer to this holiday period.


Golden Week: A Celebration of Culture, Travel, and Economic Boost
Hakata Dontaku


During Golden Week, many factories shut down for a week or more to avoid frequent stops and starts due to clustered holidays and weekends. Offices often remain open, but employees often use their paid vacations for an extended break. The pleasant weather during this time makes it a popular period for travel to both domestic resort areas and foreign destinations with family.


Golden Week in South Korea:

South Korea's Golden Week, known as Chuseok, is a harvest festival that usually falls in September or October. It is a time for Koreans to pay homage to their ancestors, prepare and share traditional food, and engage in traditional activities such as folk dancing and wrestling. Chuseok presents an opportunity for Koreans to reconnect with their cultural heritage and promote domestic tourism. Chuseok, known as Korean Thanksgiving Day, is among the most significant and extended holidays in Korea, spanning three consecutive days. During this time, family members, whether near or distant, gather to share meals, exchange stories, and express gratitude to their ancestors.

While Golden Week in South Korea is not an official holiday or term used to describe a specific holiday period like it is in China or Japan. However, Chuseok similarly considers as Golden Week is celebrated in South Korea like Japan and China.


Golden Week: A Celebration of Culture, Travel, and Economic Boost
Korea Chuseok


Golden Week in Taiwan:

Taiwan's Golden Week, called "Double Ten National Day," occurs from October 10th to October 14th. It commemorates the establishment of the Republic of China and ignites patriotic sentiments among Taiwanese citizens. During this time, Taiwan showcases its rich cultural heritage through parades, fireworks, and performances. Domestic and international tourists flock to popular destinations like Taipei, Jiufen, and Kenting to witness the festivities.


Conclusion:

Golden Week is a notable holiday period with its origins in China, but it has expanded to other East Asian countries. It brings about positive impacts on the social and economic fronts, holds cultural significance, and significantly influences tourism. Whether it's the grand celebrations in China, cultural immersion in Japan, ancestral traditions in South Korea, or patriotic fervor in Taiwan, Golden Week highlights the diversity and vitality of East Asian cultures. As this annual event continues to thrive, it will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on both residents and visitors, nurturing a deeper appreciation for the rich heritage and traditions of these nations.

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