The newly released calendar for public holidays in 2013 has upset a number of people who had planned to take a break at the beginning of the year.

But it also offers the prospect of a six-day break if employers can be persuaded to give employees an extra day off.

People will have 29 days off in seven public holidays, according to the calendar released by the central government yesterday.

But the actual holiday days add up to 11 when weekend days are subtracted and extra working days factored in.

The New Year's Day holiday will run from January 1 to 3, but people need to work on the weekend of January 5 and 6.

The dates have upset a number of people who complained online that they had assumed the holiday would run from Sunday, December 30 to January 1, as was widely believed based on common arrangements for holidays in previous years, and they would have to abruptly change their travel plans.

Kong Shuo, a Shanghai resident, said yesterday that she'll have to sell tickets she bought for three concerts in Beijing and return her air tickets as well. "I can't go, feeling bad," she said in an online post.

Another netizen said she had booked tourism packages between December 30 and January 1 on the assumption that the holiday would run from December 30. "The announcement comes too late," she complained.

Airline companies also seemed to have assumed the wrong start to the holiday.

Air tickets on December 30 had been priced much higher than those for January 1.

A ticket from Shanghai to Sanya in Hainan Province, for example, costs 1,890 yuan (US$304) for December 30, compared to the 1,320 yuan asked for January 1, according to China Eastern Airlines' website.

The southeastern city of Xiamen is hosting a marathon race on January 5, a Saturday but now a working day. However, organizers say there are no plans to change the date.

But not everyone is unhappy. Some are planning to ask for a leave on December 31 so they can enjoy a six-day break, and Shanghai travel agencies are working out new plans to accommodate this group of people.

The Shanghai Spring International Travel Service (Group) Co Ltd is replanning and promoting tour packages to Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Malaysia.

Domestic tours are usually promoted during the New Year's Day holiday break as it is short, but the schedule makes it possible for some travelers to go farther, said Qin Weihao, manager of Shanghai Spring's outbound tour division.

2013 holiday schedule

New Year's Day: January 1-3 with January 5 and 6 working days.

Spring Festival: February 9-15, with February 16 and 17 working days.

Qingming Festival: April 4-6 with April 7 working day.

Labor Day: April 29 to May 1 with April 27 and 28 working days.

Dragon Boat Festival: June 10-12, with June 8 and 9 working days.

Mid-Autumn Festival: September 19-21, with September 22 working day.

National Day: October 1-7, with September 29 and October 12 working days. 

SOURCE: Shanghai Daily
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