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Asia Minute: Chinese and Others Plan Lunar New Year Travel

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The lunar New Year is less than a week away. The year of the pig officially gets underway next Tuesday. But for millions of people in Asia, the traveling starts much sooner.

The travel numbers for China alone are staggering. The government says about 3-billion trips will take place over the holidays China calls the “Spring Festival.”

It’s China’s biggest holiday — and the lunar New Year is just part of it. There are a week of national holidays — from next Monday through the following Sunday.

The travel period goes even longer. The 40-days called “Chunyun” started this week and stretch all the way until March 1st.

China’s Commission on National Development and Reform tracks travel projections, and says most of the movement is domestic. The overwhelming majority of travelers will be driving, but more than 400 million will be on the train — and 73 million more will go by air.

The online travel agent Ctrip says about 7-million Chinese will head overseas this year to more than 90 countries.

The China Daily says the most popular destination is Japan — followed by the United States and Austria.

The holiday is also popular elsewhere in Asia — from Singapore to Laos, Vietnam and elsewhere.

On a smaller scale, South Korean travel agency H?na Tour says its bookings for overseas travel are up more than 10-percent from a year ago — with the most popular destinations being Southeast Asia, Japan and China.

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