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Holiday rush registers 1.38 billion trips

02/14/2016| 11:37:23 AM|

China's Spring holiday rush has so far accomplished 1.38 billion trips, a 3.3 percent growth from last year.

China's Spring holiday rush has so far accomplished 1.38 billion trips, a 3.3 percent growth from last year, according to the country's Ministry of Transportation on Saturday.

The 40-day Spring holiday rush reached its midpoint on Saturday with railroad traffic increasing 9.1 percent compared to the same period last year, highway traffic up 2.8 percent, air traffic up 3.1 percent and maritime traffic down 3.2 percent.

The ministry said its data showed that 80 percent of people traveled during the period to visit families and friends while 10 percent chose to travel for the purpose of tourism. It also said 17.7 percent of the Chinese tourists chose overseas destinations.

A new trend has also emerged in China during this year's Spring Festival, when more migrant workers from the country's less developed inland areas preferred to find jobs in adjacent provinces rather than to travel to megacities like Beijing and Shanghai.

Experts have attributed this to the rising cost of living in the country's first-tier cities and the growing demand for labor in central and western China.

Over 80 percent of the population of Nanchong, Sichuan Province moved to Chongqing by Saturday, the last day of the Spring Festival holiday, while people traveling to Beijing and Shanghai accounted for less than 2 percent, according to the data.

Other cities in Sichuan Province such as Dazhou and Bazhong saw a similar trend. In Dazhou, 85.5 percent of the population travelled to Chongqing Municipality after the Spring Festival holidays, with 4.6 percent going to Ankang, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. In contrast, only 2.6 percent and 1.3 percent of the population went to Dongguan, Guangdong Province and Fuzhou, Fujian Province, respectively, as of press time.

In 2014, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang highlighted the urbanization of around 100 million people in the country's central and western regions in an annual government work report, in which migrant workers were encouraged to find a job without traveling across the country.

"When these regions start to provide work and other facilities, China will experience greater momentum in terms of economic and social development," according to Yao Chenyuan, a researcher with China's State Council, as quoted by Guangming Daily on Thursday.

If China fully accomplishes such an urbanization process, it may also help solve the problem of left-behind children, Wang Yuesheng, a population researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Saturday.

"Metropolitan areas have gained much in attracting labor due to the rapid development of the Chengdu-Chongqing economic zone," Yin Zhi, an expert on urban planning at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Saturday.

However, many small- and medium-sized cities have failed to attract labor, according to the expert.

More efforts should be made to get cities in remote areas to provide more public services such as education and medical care, Yin noted.

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TAGS: holidays | domestic tourism | China
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