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BEIJING – China expects a sharp increase in travel during the Lunar New Year holiday, with around 2.1 billion trips by air, land and water expected to take place during this period, up from last year’s twice that of the same period.

Recent Relaxation of Covid-19 Restrictions Vice Minister of Transport Xu Chengguang said at a briefing in Beijing on Friday that it was likely to encourage people to go home to visit family or take vacations.

Still, about 70% of the same period in 2019, it will fall short of pre-corona levels, he said.

The public holiday in China officially runs from January 21 to 27, 2023.

However, traffic is based on the 40-day period around Chinese New Year. This is usually the busiest season for travel in China and the time of year when the largest human movements take place on the planet.

Xu said the travel rush could coincide with the peak of Covid infections.

It will also take time for transport staff to pick up speed after the pandemic’s upheaval, which could lead to safety challenges, he said.

According to Wan Xiangdong, chief pilot of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, there will be an average of 11,000 flights per day.

Hainan, Beijing, Haikou, Kunming, Chongqing and Chengdu are the most popular destinations.

The rapid unwinding of China’s Covid-free policy has sparked a recovery in the world’s largest domestic air travel market.

Lunar New Year bookings are likely to hit a three-year high, travel portal said in a recent report.

Meanwhile, China’s aviation regulator hopes air traffic will reach about 75% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023, state media said.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China aims to “get the rhythm of the industry’s recovery and development” to achieve a certain volume and traffic, broadcaster CCTV reported.Bloomberg, Reuters China expects travel to surge during Lunar New Year holiday

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