Today, most of China is reluctantly back at work after the week-long Chinese New Year/ Spring Festival celebrations. Most Chinese people continue the tradition of spending the New Year at home with family. As so many people live away from their hometown in major cities these days, Chinese New Year is an opportunity to spend time with parents, children, extended family, and catch up with old friends. For some it’s the only time of the year that they will get the chance to do so.
A few weeks before Chinese New Year the ‘world’s greatest human migration’ begins as the early birds start to vacate the big cities. Train tickets are in short supply and flights are really expensive closer to New Year so some people try to beat the crowds. A few days before Chinese New Year and Beijing feels like a ghost town. The vast majority of restaurants and shops are closed and there is actually enough room to read a book on the subway!
Many Chinese people also take the opportunity to travel and this year set a new record as 344 million visitor trips were made within China. These domestic tourists generated $61.7 billion of income, a 15.9% increase on last year’s figure.
A new trend is that more and more Chinese people are travelling abroad during Spring Festival instead of returning to their hometowns. This year 6.15 million Chinese people decided to spend Spring Festival abroad, up 7% on last year.
It’s more than likely these numbers will be even higher for next year’s celebrations.