The world is still grappled by the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Although COVID-19 vaccination drives begin, the rapidly spreading new strain of coronavirus has imposed lockdown-like situations once again. Amid all of this pandemic situation, one of the most important events/holidays is coming up. Chinese New Year 2021 which is a two-week long celebration sees a travel influx of millions of people together. And at a time like this, such a migration sparks great concern of further COVID-19 spread. This mass migration of people to and from and within China is called as the Spring Movement or 春运 Chunyun. So how will it be impacted for Chinese New Year 2021? What steps are being taken to avoid millions of people from travelling together? Let us understand more. When is Chinese New Year 2021? Know All Details About Year of The Ox As Per Chinese Lunar Calendar.
What is Spring Movement or Chunyun?
In traditional language, Spring Festival travel season is called as Chunyun. It is a period of travel in China around the Chinese New Year with extremely high traffic load all over the country. The Chunyun season begins 15 days before New Year's Day and lasts for around 40 days. It is the largest annual human migration in the world. It causes the biggest and longest annual period of transport stress anywhere in the world. All modes of transport experience great challenge during this period. Other than China, this Spring Movement is also seen in parts of Asia such as Japan, Vietnam and South Korea.
The main reasons for this rush are reunions and vacations. It has been a tradition for the Chinese people from years to return to their home and enjoy with family. Similar to New Year's Eve in other parts of the world, Chinese people return to their families, even if it means traveling long distances. It is vacation time for several schools and universities around the same time. So not just the working class, even the students return home. Amid Virus Fears, China Urges Workers to Skip Holiday Travel.
And it is very common to travel during one's vacations. Most tourist destinations are heavily crowded as people travel together with all of their families. China Reports 144 New COVID-19 Cases on Thursday, Records Highest Single Day Rise in 10 Months.
Best Ways to Travel for Chinese New Year 2021
The best ways to travel are flights. Since most of the returning crowd is of labour class and students, flights are not really affordable, which makes flight availability for the others. For international passengers, they have to book their tickets well in advance.
In China, rail is the most common mode of transportation, since the railway network connects all main cities. So trains are a great challenge for the Chinese itself, more so for the foreigners visiting her for the festive season.
The last option, but not a convenient one, are long-distance buses. There are limited resources and facilities on the buses and the long-distance are usually overnight journeys.
The busiest routes during this period are -Beijing–Harbin, Beijing–Xi'an, Beijing–Wuhan, Beijing–Zhengzhou, Guangzhou–Wuhan, Guangzhou–Chongqing, Guangzhou–Zhengzhou, Guangzhou–Changsha, Shenzhen–Zhengzhou, and Shanghai–Xi'an.
Steps Taken for Chinese New Year 2021
Now to tackle the Spring Movement for 2021, companies and local governments are offering incentives to people to stay at their homes instead of traveling. Financial incentives like cash bonuses, shopping vouchers, movie tickets, free entry to local attractions are some of the incentives offered.
The transport authorities estimate about 300 million rail trips across the country. In the meantime, China is once again battling a spike of coronavirus cases. Some companies are offering vouchers, free entry at local tourist spots to encourage people to travel locally. Local governments have announced subsidy for residents who stay within the territory for celebrations.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 17, 2021 07:37 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).