China braces for 2.9 billion trips made during New Year

AP News
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.

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