By Tony Winterburn • 26 January 2021 • 7:20
China's Peak Lunar New Year Air Travel Season Fails To Take Off. image: Pixabay
China’s Peak Lunar New Year Air Travel Season Fails To Take Off.
This week, millions of people will be celebrating the Chinese New Year and it will be marked by communities all over the world. Traditionally, people will eat lots of food, enjoy fireworks, wear special clothes and hang red lanterns to mark the occasion.
To limit the spread of COVID-19 however, this year the Chinese government has discouraged travel in what is normally the busiest time of the year. Those who are going anyway must to present a nucleic acid test with negative results taken in the seven days before returning home.
As a result, airline bookings made as of Jan. 19 for Lunar New Year travel have plunged 73.7% compared with the holiday period in 2019, according to data from travel analytics firm ForwardKeys. ForwardKeys, however, did not provide data for 2020, saying the early days of the COVID outbreak distorted the numbers.
Bookings had been down 57.3% from 2019 as of Jan. 1, with the situation deteriorating due to outbreaks leading to tighter restrictions. Beijing has reported new COVID-19 cases for 11 consecutive days and nationwide case numbers, while tiny by the standards of most Western countries, are at 10-month highs.
Chinese New Year, also called Lunar New Year, is an annual 15-day festival in China and Chinese communities around the world that begins with the new moon that occurs sometime between January 21 and February 20 according to Western calendars. Festivities last until the following full moon.
It is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. In Chinese tradition, each year is named after one of 12 animals, which feature in the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
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