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Asia Minute: China’s Lunar New Year Travel Rush Begins

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The Lunar New Year officially arrives a week from Friday on February 16th. But in China, travel for the holiday period is already underway—along with seasonal complications. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

There’s nothing like China’s annual “Spring Festival” to get people moving. It may seem a little early for spring, but that’s the phrasing used for the annual Chinese holidays that span the lunar New Year.

National holidays start on New Year’s Eve, Thursday February 15th, and go for a seven day stretch.

The national tradition is to return home for the holidays. The actual tradition is to leave early and stay late.

This massive travel rush has its own name – the Chunyun. And it’s already underway. It started last Thursday and will last until March 12th.

Credit Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

China’s government estimates roughly 3 billion trips will take place over that period. China Railway plans to make room for an additional 100,000 passengers each day. The official Xinhua News Agency quotes the Civil Aviation Administration as saying 30,000 additional flights will be scheduled.

Outside mainland China, the lunar New Year often means vacation travel.

For Hong Kongers, most prices are steeper this year. The online travel website Skyscanner says prices for travel to most other Asian locations are up ten to nineteen percent from a year ago.

The most popular destination for Hong Kong residents this holiday season: Taipei, Taiwan.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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