China sees 1.6b passenger trips during 2023 Spring Festival travel rush
Published: Feb 16, 2023 02:42 AM
This photo taken on Jan. 27, 2023 shows a view of the waiting hall at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station in east China's Shanghai. Railway stations, highways and airports across China are bracing for a fresh travel peak as a growing number of travelers hit the road and return to work after a week-long Spring Festival holiday which ends on Friday. Photo: Xinhua

This photo taken on January 27, 2023 shows a view of the waiting hall at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station in East China's Shanghai. Photo: Xinhua

There were about 1.595 billion passenger trips during this year's 40-day chunyun (January 7 to February 15), or Spring Festival travel rush, which ended on Wednesday. It is the biggest migration in China in the past three years. Such mobility is also good news for China's economy.

This was the first Spring Festival after China downgraded its COVID-19 management from Class A to Class B from January 8, with a marked increase in trans-regional movement of people. The demand for family reunions, tourism and sightseeing was fully released.

Official statistics released on Wednesday showed that the trips during chunyun were up 50.5 percent from the same period in 2022.

Before the pandemic, a total of 2.98 billion passenger trips were made during the Spring Festival travel rush in 2019.

As one of the busiest train stations in China, Guangzhou South Railway Station received and sent more than 600,000 passengers every day during rush hours, which means the station had to handle 25,000 passengers every 10 minutes, according to media reports.

South China's Guangzhou witnessed 107.7 million passenger trips during the 2023 Spring Festival travel rush, up 24 percent from 2022 and recovering to 85.6 percent of the 2019 level.

Airports in South China's Hainan Province, a hot travel destination, saw 15,741 flights taking off and landing, a year-on-year rise of 5.49 percent. Passenger throughput was 2.46 million person-times, up 24.99 percent year-on-year, according to an operational report released by Hainan Airport on Wednesday.

No large-scale infections occurred during the Spring Festival travel rush. It shows that China's epidemic prevention measures are effective. Safe mass migration will bring more certainty to China's economy in 2023.

During the second half of chunyun, workers went back to factories as production restarted and consumption resumed, helping China's economy to recover quickly.

As the first Spring Festival after the optimization and adjustment of the epidemic prevention and control policy, the 2023 Spring Festival holidays showed obvious signs of recovery in the consumer market.

According to monitoring by the Ministry of Commerce, the sales of key retail and catering enterprises during the Spring Festival increased by 6.8 percent compared with last year, giving the consumer market a good start.

A survey conducted by China Chain-Store & Franchise Association shows that the actual sales of fruit, drinks, washing paper towels and other daily use products have exceeded expectations.

With the orderly recovery of the national consumer market, the offline retail industry is still full of opportunities and vitality, said the association.

It is also worth noting that outbound travel, including group tours, resumed quickly during the Spring Festival holidays.

The first flight carrying outbound Chinese tour groups in three years took off early on February 6, the first day that China resumed a pilot program of outbound group tours in 20 countries.

According to data from the National Immigration Administration, the number of people entering and leaving China reached 676,000 on February 6, the highest since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.

A survey by Qunar, an online travel platform, showed that more than 90 percent of respondents plan to travel abroad within a year, and about 25 percent plan to travel abroad within six months.

Global Times