China's Spring Festival travel rush, also known as the Chunyun in Chinese, has started Monday and will last until March 1. The 40-day travel rush will embrace the planet's largest human migration as Chinese set off for family reunions or tours.
The travel rush began 15 days ahead of the Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, the country's most important traditional holiday. It will see an estimated three billion trips, with a year-on-year increase of 0.6 percent, said the state economic planner.
The road trips take up a lion share at 2.46 billion, down 0.8 percent from 2018. The railway system expects 413 million trips, increasing 8.3 percent year on year, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
The aviation authority plans to schedule 532,000 flights during the travel rush, with air trips expected at 73 million, up 12 percent from 2018. Boat trips will remain the same compared with the number of last years, according to the NDRC.
Travel rush in 40 years
The number of trips during the Spring Festival travel rush has expanded 30 times since 1979. That record broke one billion in 1994 for the first time, exceeded two billion in 2006, and reached over three billion in 2012.
It is the comprehensive transport system that supports the large scale of migration. Under tremendous transport pressure, the railway, highway and civil aviation systems have completed upgrading in the past 40 years.
China has speeded up its trains six times between 1997 and 2007. It has launched 10 new railways at the end of last year, with its operational length of high-speed railways expanding to 29,000 kilometers.
The country launched self-designed and self-manufactured "Fuxing" bullet trains in June 2017, and the 16 carriage trains were put into operation in July 2018. The new 17-carriage train with a designed speed of 350 kilometers per hour debuted in early January.
As of the end of 2017, the total mileage of roads has reached 4,773,500 kilometers, and the mileage of highways has stood at 136,500 kilometers, both of which ranked first in the world. The road trips were 2.48 billion during last Spring Festival travel rush.
In 1978, China had 144 airplanes for civil aviation but now has 3,551 planes in 52 airlines. The air trips were 65.41 million over the last 40-day travel rush.
Travel rush to the world
As the tourism industry booms, 43 percent of Chinese have chosen to travel with families in China or abroad to spend the week-long Spring Festival holiday, according to fliggy.com, a Chinese travel ticket booking platform.
The country's major airports will usher in a peak of passengers' flow, especially on February 1 when most of the passengers choose to start their holiday. Many of them said that they could take a two-day break for a nine-day holiday.
The statistics from fliggy.com show that people starting from airports in Kunming, Haikou and Chengdu will prefer to travel around China, while people departing from Shanghai will have a preference traveling worldwide.
Most people spending the Spring Festival abroad will choose destinations within three-hour flight journeys. Meanwhile, the number of people going to the UK and Russia for the Spring Festival holiday has grown 93 percent and 80 percent from 2018.