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Nation Gears up for the Big Holiday
This year the October 1 Chinese National Day falls on the same day as the Mid-autumn Festival, a traditional time for family reunions all over the country. This holiday convergence happens only once every 19 years or so, and the tourist industry has embraced the occasion with high hopes and in a variety of ways.

China's major airlines and railroads have added extra flights and trains. Information about those schedules as well as other news such as current hotel availability is being coordinated through a National Holiday Forecast Center with outposts at major scenic areas and through broadcasts on CCTV, including CCTV News 30'and TV Guide.

Hong Konghas simplified the entry procedures for tourists into Hong Kong, and tourism officials predict that this year's holiday crowd will be about the same as last years, around 13.06 million people.

Following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Hong Kong channeled its tourism promotions away from the US and Canada toward closer markets such as the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, according to Clara Chong, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Tourists are expected to flock to traditional attractions like Hong Kong's bustling Victoria Harbor, the Stanley Market commercial area, and Ocean Park, one of Southeast Asia's largest entertainment and leisure complexes. For local Hong Kong residents, the barracks of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison will open its gates for exhibitions and shows.

While people in other parts of the country may be traveling long distances to get to major cities, Beijingers seem to prefer to escape the crowds and traffic jams by traveling a short distance to enjoy their city's best season, the fall, in the charm and fresh air of nearby suburbs. In response, many scenic areas in the suburbs are offering special activities such as apple-picking in orchards. As for people who stay in the city proper, major shopping areas like Wangfujing Street will offer discounts to greet the expected holiday rush.

Many provinces also have held or will hold festivals related to the week-long holiday:

  • South China's Guangdong Province holds the Fifth China Flower Exposition, the largest of its kind ever held in the mainland, from Sept. 28 through October 7, where people can enjoy spectacular garden designs, landscape settings and exhibitions.
  • East China's Fujian Province holds the Second Hakka Round Earth House Festival in Yongding County from Oct 2-4, which features visits to houses that date back 1,000 years.
  • Shanghai holds a car exhibition on Huaihai Road on Oct. 3-5 where car fans will be treated to exhibitions and services.

The Mid-Autumn Festival - this year October 1 by the Gregorian calendar but always the 15th night of the eighth lunar month according to the traditional Chinese Calendar - is a time when the moon is full and bright and the evenings are cool and pleasant ¨C a time Chinese have found perfect since ancient times for families to eat moonquakes while enjoying the light of the moon.

To celebrate the traditions of the Mid-Autumn Festival, scenic areas are planning many moon-gazing activities for their guests. Guilin in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region provides special activities involving lanterns and ethnic performances visitors as they enjoy viewing the moonlit Elephant Mountain and Moon Mountain. West Lake in east China's Zhejiang Province is another good place for enjoying the moon as it entertains its visitors with traditional Chinese music and tea ceremony as well as boating on the lake.

(china.org.cn by Guo Xiaohong sources from Xinhua News Agency, China News Net, Beijing Morning Post, People¡¯s Daily, and China Central Television Station)

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