The number of trips made by citizens during China’s three-day mid-Autumn festival dropped by more than a third compared to last year, state media said on Monday.
The news came as no surprise because officials in many cities had urged citizen to avoid travel because of the country’s zero-Covid policy, which has been echoed enthusiastically as the country gets closer its five-yearly Party Congress next month.
Passenger trips during a holiday that typically involves family reunions were estimated at 66.96 million between September 10 and September 12 when the holiday ends, state television reported.
Trips by road were down 37% on the year at 48.18 million and those by ship were down 15% at 1.54 million.
People took 1.28 million trips within China by air, according to the CCTV report, a level nearly 60% lower than the corresponding holiday last year.
China has been battling to contain the highly transmissible Omicron variant, imposing lockdowns of various degrees to stop its spread.
Japanese brokerage and investment bank Nomura said that as of last Tuesday, 49 Chinese cities had various levels of lockdowns or control measures, with an estimated 291.7 million people affected.
Local authorities have also urged residents to refrain from non-essential trips in the run-up to a week-long National Day holiday at the beginning of October and a Communist Party Congress in mid-October, when President Xi Jinping is expected to be endorsed for a rare third-term.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard