Each year, millions-upon-millions of Chinese travellers embark on their annual pilgrimage back to their home city, or travel to where their family are located. This number is growing every year, and it starts officially on 19 Feb 2015, and lasts for 40 days, ending on 15 Mar 2015. 70 million people are expected to travel daily, which is the like the entire population of France or Thailand up and travelling all on the same day!
China’s equivalent to Google, Baidu has put together an interactive travel map, showing all the routes, volume and overall travel patterns of Chinese travellers these holidays.
Airports where the travel is most concentrated is Beijing Capital International Airport, Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport.
Cities with the greatest number of outbound travellers/departures have been Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
While most of the travel is by road and train, the sheer volume of travel and the net effect it has on the available workforce in significantly affected locations results in significant reduction in capacity, services and ability to get anything done in China during this period. Sanitation, confined spaces, individual health issues and the stress/excitement of travel always results in elevated health, safety, security and travel risk incidents in China during this time. Most business travellers avoid travel at this time, and expatriates living in China often contribute to the migration by returning home or holidaying within Asia during this period also. Leisure travellers are often the least aware or prepared at this time and the colder temperatures at this time of the year result in colds, flu and other seasonal ailments, along with occasional physical injuries. Significant travel delays and disruptions dominate the beginning and final week of the Lunar New Year, or “Golden Week” travel migration.