The New Lunar Year Revitalizes Tourism in China… Surge in Travel

China has entered a state of heightened activity today, Friday, on the eve of the New Lunar Year, with travelers crowding trains and planes to return to their hometowns, while their families prepare for traditional dinner gatherings.

The country is working to increase travel capacity to aid in smooth transitions after harsh weather threatened the journeys of millions returning home for the holidays. Around 1,873 passenger trains were added in a single day to the country’s extensive railway network, a record according to the government media platform (Global Times).

Railway activity surged after snow and freezing rain paralyzed service earlier in the week, leaving some passengers stranded on trains for hours after power outages.

Several provinces rushed to update emergency response procedures to clear snow that had hampered traffic flow on hundreds of highways, thus trapping passengers in cars. Authorities worked on removing ice from power lines, railway tracks, and airplane runways.

In the world’s busiest travel period, 13.1 million passengers utilized China’s national railways on Wednesday alone. This marked the first time during the Spring Festival travel peak, also known as Chunyun period, that passenger numbers exceeded 13 million per day according to the Global Times.

The government-owned Shanghai-based newspaper, The Paper, stated that railway stations across the city are expected to host 475,000 passengers today, up by 61.7% compared to the same period in 2019.

The newspaper added that it is anticipated that 7,170,900 passengers will travel across Shanghai’s railway network over the two weeks preceding the Spring Festival, surpassing the total for the same period in 2019.

The holidays, officially lasting eight days, commence tomorrow, Saturday, but many travelers choose to start their journeys early. It also marks a year since China lifted restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, measures that disrupted holidays over the past three years.

Expected adverse weather conditions in central and southern China during the Lunar New Year travel season, the worst in years, are likely to disrupt the journeys of hundreds of millions.

Chinese meteorologists forecast temperatures to be around normal averages in most regions over the next few days.

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