Let my people go: The world's largest annual migration
Tourists beware: most of China will be boarding trains, planes and automobiles during the Spring Festival which will bridge January and February 2012.
Dubbed “the world's largest annual migration”, the Spring Festival -- called chunyun (春运) in Chinese -- is likely to exceed itself at Lunar New Year.
The nation’s transportation system is expecting nearly 3.2 billion passenger journeys in the upcoming Spring Festival rush, a 9.1 percent increase on 2011. So, given that the population is 1.3 billion and counting, that means more or less everyone is moving somewhere twice.
According to China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the forthcoming Spring Festival travel season is due to start on January 8 and end on February 19, 2012.
The total passenger numbers will be made up of 235 million passengers by train, 2.845 billion by road, 43.5 million by water and 34.88 million by air.
However, the report did not explain how these numbers had been calculated.
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Most of Chunyun travelers are students and migrant workers leaving Chinese cities for their hometowns.
For most migrant workers, Lunar New Year is one of the few chances to take enough time off in order to spend time with families.
And although China has laid almost 10,000 kilometers of high-speed railway track, chunyun travelers usually prefer to take regular trains or long-distance buses because of their lower fares.
The spike in the number of passengers is due to the early arrival of 2012 Lunar New Year, which means students, migrant workers and holiday-takers will overlap on the road.
The Dragon year Spring Festival starts on January 23 in 2012, with the public holiday running from January 22-28.
Click the gallery above to see the chunyun rush in previous Spring Festivals.