A guest post by Tom Carter
An alternative explanation of the chaos that orbits China’s favorite attractions is the government’s authoritative instruction of where and when the populace may travel, preferring brief, intensive bursts during the national holidays rather than a steady flow.
This quarterly policy may make for impressive economic reports (though Xinhua News Agency reports a growing disfavor with the eight-year-old Golden Week holiday system), but it creates a havoc that is all of dissuading foreigners from extensive travel in China.
Indeed, every summer scores of Western backpackers are stranded in Shaanxi’s provincial capital city of Xi’an, home of terracotta warriors, waiting indefinitely for train tickets back to Beijing, often resulting in missed return flights home. The blame for this calamity lies with the tour group companies themselves, who purchase large blocks of tickets (often in advance through personal connection with train station officials), leaving nary a hard seat available for the independent traveler.
And what of the more noticeable effects of those traveling en masse to China’s wonderland attractions?
Go to Chinese Tour Groups: Blight? Or Smart Traveling? – Part 4 or return to Part 2.
Travel photographer Tom Carter is the author of CHINA: Portrait of a People, a 600-page book of photography from the 33 provinces of China, which may be found on Amazon.com. If you enjoyed this guest post by Tom Carter, you may enjoy The China Backpacker Diaries.
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