All work and no play
Updated: 2011-05-02 08:38
By Zhang Xiaomin, Cheng Yingqi, Guo Shuhan and Wu Yiyao (China Daily)
He Yamei works at a Shanghai supermarket as a cashier. She works even harder during holidays as there are more promotions and discount offers, for which she gets triple wages. [Photo by Guo Shuhan/ China Daily]
For tour guide Wang Yuanyuan, 28, the holiday means more work and extra pressure to make sure she doesn't end up out of pocket.
"The Labor Day holiday is never a holiday for me," said Wang."It belongs to other businesses, not tourism."
Wang has worked as a tour guide for Xi'an-based Sinofly Travel Service since 2006, and said she prepared herself for even more working hours than usual during this year's Labor Day holiday, because Xi'an is hosting the 2011 International Horticultural Exposition.
The expo, which lasts until Oct 22, will bring more tourists to Xi'an, the capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi province.
"You have to make more preparations for a holiday, unless you want complaints from clients," she said.
Wang's working day usually begins around 7 am when she arrives at her clients' hotel and finishes around 7 pm when the tour group finishes the day's travel.
But public holidays mean an earlier start.
"On national holidays, we have to move the whole schedule ahead to cope with possible traffic jams or other contingencies, otherwise we won't finish the planned schedule," Wang said. "Also, the restaurants are more crowded than usual, so we have to ensure that our guests arrive earlier."
As tourist attractions are very popular during public holidays, one of Wang's biggest concerns is making sure none of her group goes astray at crowded scenic spots.
"I have to memorize their faces in half a day so that I won't lose any of my guests and so I don't hand the entrance tickets to the wrong person," Wang said. "If I give a ticket to someone from another group, I have to pay for it myself, which can be as expensive as several hundred yuan." Wang is always too busy to attend family gatherings during the holidays and she is not paid for any extra work.
"When I first became a tour guide I felt sorry for myself. But as time goes by, I have gradually understood this is part of my job, and my responsibility is to make travelers happy during their holidays," she said.
Lu Hongyan contributed to the story.
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