China braces for 2.9 billion trips made during New Year

AP News
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Posted: Jan 30, 2016 3:56 AM
China braces for 2.9 billion trips made during New Year

BEIJING (AP) — China's peak travel season is kicking into high gear this weekend as hundreds of millions of people go home for Spring Festival celebrations — or head for vacation destinations domestic and abroad.

According to the Ministry of Transport, Chinese travelers are expected to make 2.9 billion trips during the 40-day period between Jan. 21 and March 3, with the majority of those trips falling in the weeks around the Feb. 8 Lunar New Year.

That's a slight uptick of 3.6 percent from last year, but the travel crush — considered the largest annual human migration — may be relatively less severe due to a lackluster economy.

In coastal Zhejiang Province near Shanghai, officials expect a 4.4 percent drop in passenger traffic as jobs dry up and migrant laborers pack up early to head to their family homes in China's hinterlands well before the New Year.

By comparison, Chinese made 3.6 billion trips during the same holiday period in 2014.