As China's holiday season approaches things are about to get complicated

In China they are calling it "the most complicated holiday in history'' and that not just because an estimated 210 million people will be moving around inside the country.

This year the nation's Mid-Autumn Festival backs up almost on top of the National Day holidays, meaning the public is being offered two public holiday periods of as long as 10 days.

And this is where the confusion starts.

Mid-Autumn - traditionally a harvest celebration which centers around family gatherings and banquets - falls from September 22 to 24, while the seven-day National Day holiday starts on October 1.

If you want the whole 16 days off though, you have to negotiate with your boss, otherwise you will be facing what China's netizens have labeled the "vacation rhyme formula.''

And from September 18, for 1.3 billion workers, the formula reads: one day off, three days work, three days off, six days work, seven days off, two days work, and one day off.

Those quick enough have already booked their trips and while the China Tourism Academy has refused to estimate how many will head off overseas, it says 210 million are heading to destinations (and family) within China.

Mainland Chinese tourism operators are meanwhile saying all available trips to places such as Japan, the United States and Canada have been snapped up while tickets on internal transport systems such as trains and buses are going for way over their normal price as regional destinations try to lure China's holiday makers too.

Organizers of Shanghai's World Expo, for example, are expecting between 400,000 and 500,000 people to stream in through their gates every day during the National Day holidays as people try to see the event before it closes on October 31. So far the event has attracted 51 million visitors, they say, and 18 million tickets remain unsold for those willing to face the crowds.

MS

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