HAIKOU /China/, January 23. /TASS/. Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Hainan recorded a significant increase in passenger traffic on the Lunar New Year's travel rush (this year the New Year fell on January 22). This was reported on Monday by the Department of Transport of the region.
January 7 marked the start Chunyun or Spring Festival, China's period of Lunar New Year domestic travel. It is a time of active trips across the country, when locals return to their hometowns and visit relatives and friends. Chunyun begins two weeks before the Lunar New Year and lasts 40 days (this time from January 7 to February 15).
"This year, passenger traffic in the province during the Chunyun period has significantly increased," the ministry said in a statement. The number of passengers arriving and leaving Hainan through the Qiongzhou Strait between the island and Guangdong province has already reached record highs, it said.
The document said a total of 1.44 million passengers entered and left Hainan through the Qionzhou Strait between January 7 and 21, a 50.35% increase over the same period last year and a 13.25% increase over the same period in pre-pandemic 2019. Some 386,900 vehicles entered and left the island during the same time period through the Qiongzhou Strait, where the ferry service operates, an increase of 42.56% over the same period last year and 43.14% over the same period in 2019, the report pointed out. This is also the highest value in the last five years, the department stressed.
China's Ministry of Transportation previously reported that Chinese residents are expected to take a total of 2.09 billion trips across the country during this year's Chunyun period. Before the 2019 pandemic, Chinese residents made about 3 billion trips across the country during Chunyun.
The Lunar New Year, or Chinese Chunjie, fell on the night of January 21 to 22 and will end on February 10, 2024. Its patron is the Water Rabbit, whose main colors are black and blue. For Chinese people, Chunjie is one of the most important lunar calendar holidays.