Chinese New Year Sees Mass Travel Return

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Beijing Capital International Airport is crowded with people taking flights on Saturday.

BEIJING — With the Chinese New Year period having started Saturday, a total of about 2.1 billion trips are expected to be made within and out of China.

This year’s holiday period, which continues through Friday, is the first since China abandoned its zero-COVID policy to stem coronavirus infections through lockdowns.

Many people will be returning to their hometowns for the first time in years, and as some overseas travel has resumed, expectations for economic recovery are rising in destinations popular with Chinese travelers.

On Saturday morning, the international departure lobby of Beijing Capital International Airport was bustling with passengers, including families.

The Chinese government has eliminated mandatory quarantine upon entry to the country and allowed Chinese nationals to resume overseas travel since Jan. 8.

According to a travel bookings website, Asian countries account for more than half of Chinese travelers’ trips, with Hong Kong, Macao and Thailand the most popular destinations.

The Chinese government has repeatedly urged local governments to thoroughly monitor the health of pregnant women and elderly people who have underlying medical conditions and are living in rural areas so as to prevent serious illnesses in those who are infected.