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Chinese holiday travel expected to surge past pre-pandemic levels

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Travel levels for China’s five-day May Day holiday have surged passed pre-pandemic levels, state-run media reported Saturday. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

April 29 (UPI) — Chinese citizens are preparing travel plans for the five-day May Day holiday with the number of planned trips surging beyond pre-pandemic levels, state media reported Saturday.

The China State Railway Group predicted 120 million trips will be taken via rail during the holiday — 20% more than in 2019, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 19 million people are expected to travel by train on Saturday, the first day of the five-day holiday, which is higher than previously recorded numbers.

Central China Television reported more than 9 million flights are expected during the same period, again exceeding 2019’s numbers. Homestay and hotel bookings also showed a turnover increase of 120% over 2019, according to the Chinese Communist Party outlet Global Times.

As of 9 p.m. Saturday, Hong Kong immigration officials tallied more than 300,000 travelers entering the city via control points throughout the day, the South China Morning Post reported.

In January, China largely dropped the so-called “Zero-COVID” policy that required testing before boarding public transport and saw entire cities and regions locked down over a small number of cases.

The Zero-COVID restrictions caused a backlash and rare public protests, known as the “White Paper Protests,” for the blank sheets of paper demonstrators would hold up to represent the grievances they are not allowed to express.

Travelers entering China can show results from an antigen test taken within 48 hours of boarding instead of a PCR test and results will no longer be tested on departing flights.

The surging travel numbers are seen as a good sign for the Chinese economy under President Xi Jinping. During the annual Chinese People’s Conference in March, former Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang was appointed premier, a position that ostensibly puts him in charge of economic policy.

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Chinese holiday travel expected to surge past pre-pandemic levels Reviewed by RP on April 30, 2023 Rating: 5

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