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Travel Within China Has Spiked After COVID-19 Curbs Were Lifted

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Travel Within China Has Spiked After COVID-19 Curbs Were Lifted

(CTN NEWS) – BEIJING – After officials removed COVID-19 regulations that had restricted travel for three years, the number of people traveling within China over the seven-day Chinese New Year vacation increased 74% over the previous year, according to media reports on Saturday.

The most significant holiday in China is Chinese New Year when millions of workers in wealthy coastal cities return to their hometowns and villages for family gatherings.

However, for three years, people were warned against traveling over the holiday, and those who disobeyed were subject to snap lockdowns, several COVID-19 testing, quarantine, and even reprimands from their work units.

Travel Within China Has Spiked A

Passengers arrive at Hongqiao railway station in Shanghai on Jan 20, 2023, as people head back to their hometowns for Chinese New Year celebrations. (Photo: AFP/Hector Retamal)

During the holiday week that ended on Friday, an estimated 226 million domestic journeys were conducted by all methods, including aeroplanes, according to statistics cited by state broadcaster CCTV.

According to the transport ministry, this compares to around 130 million domestic trips made during the vacation week last year.

About 420 million internal journeys were undertaken during the last Chinese New Year vacation before the new coronavirus surfaced in late 2019 in the central city of Wuhan.

The National Immigration Administration reported on Saturday that cross-border travel increased 120.5 percent from the previous year to 2.88 million for both inbound and outbound visits.

Travel Within China Has Spiked A 1

People walk with their luggage at a railway station during the annual Spring Festival travel rush ahead of Chinese New Year, in Shanghai, China on Jan 16, 2023. (Photo: Reuters/Aly Song)

12.53 million cross-border journeys were made in 2019, according to the Xinhua news agency. This was over the Chinese New Year break.

After demonstrations against the restrictions, China dropped its tight “zero COVID” policy in the first few days of December, allowing individuals to travel and the virus to spread quickly across the nation.

In-person service consumption during the holiday season significantly improved, as evidenced by the uptick in domestic travel.

But given their deteriorating balance sheets, households are likely to be cautious in unleashing pent-up demand, according to analysts at Japanese brokerage Nomura.


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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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