Record-breaking Spring Festival travel rush kicks off as economic engine continues to roar in Year of Dragon

2024-01-29 10:30:11 Winsun Imp. & Exp. Group Co., Ltd. Viewd 225

Source:Global Times

China's annual Spring Festival travel rush, also known as chunyun, kicked off on Friday, and saw tens of millions of people rush to take trains,

 planes and other packed vehicles to reunite with their friends and families on the first day. Red lanterns, Chinese knots and bamboo dragons

 were hung up at train stations and airports, and passengers with luggage and gifts formed a vivid display of a robust and vibrant Chinese economy.

As the country braces for the largest annual human migration on the planet with a record 9 billion domestic trips expected, analysts projected 

a fresh consumption boom for the economy, which will not only give a boost to the world's second-largest economy, but also stimulate the confidence 

of enterprises to step up investment and innovation.

Dismissing the US-led Western bad-mouthing of the economy, they expressed full confidence in the Chinese economy's prospects, saying the 

country's institutional advantage in swiftly and effectively turning top policy blueprints into real actions will ensure the continuous stable upswing

 recovery of the economy in 2024, which is expected to grow by around 5 percent.

Fun and festive

China is expected to see more than 182 million passenger trips on Friday, the first day of its 40-day Spring Festival travel rush, according to a government estimate. 

The hustle and bustle of chunyun was on vivid display at Beijing West Railway Station, one of the busiest train stations in the country. On a chilly morning, at around

 7 am, the station was already crowded. Some passengers got off taxis before they even reached the drop-off point, and walked into the station pulling their luggage.

The noisy station was filled with vibrant colors and joyful laughter. Red lanterns, paper-cuts, Chinese knots and bamboo dragons could be seen at the station and on

 trains, immersing passengers in the fun and festive atmosphere of the upcoming Spring Festival.

"I couldn't wait to return to my hometown this Spring Festival and got up at 3 am this morning. When I arrived at the station, the festive decorations and cheers from 

the large crowd of passengers made me feel like the Spring Festival is already here," a 35-year-old worker named Li He told the Global Times on Friday.

On Friday alone, Beijing West Railway Station was estimated to have handled 143,000 passengers, and is expected to see a total of 4.92 million passengers, a spokesperson

 for the station told reporters on Friday morning. Operations were smooth with many workers guiding passengers quickly through security checkpoints and to their departure 

gates - a reflection of the improved capacity and services of China's ever-expanding modern transport network.

On Friday, China Eastern Airlines debuted all four of its domestically-produced C919 large passenger jets, carrying 111 passengers from Shanghai to Chengdu, Southwest China's 

Sichuan Province by noon. In the country's civil aviation sector, a total of 2 million passenger trips are expected to be handled on Friday, up 94 percent from the same day in 2023 

and a 15 percent rise from that in 2019. 

At Beijing Daxing International Airport, a passenger named Chen Peng told the Global times that he is taking his family on a trip to Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

"It's the first time that we are taking my 6-year-old daughter to such a far region. In 2023, I got promoted with a higher income, and I hope to find a better life for

 my family and let my daughter see that our country is becoming better and better," Chen said.

Boosting confidence 

Extending the strong momentum during Spring Festival, the country's consumption sector - be it in cities or villages, online and offline, and in green spending or the

 silver economy - will continue to rebound robustly, with retail sales expected to exceed 50 trillion yuan ($7.04 trillion) in 2024, said Wei Jianguo, former Chinese vice

minister of commerce and executive deputy director of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

This will not only play an important role in driving the Chinese economy but also in stimulating the confidence of enterprises, especially private companies, in stepping

 up investment and innovation, Wei told the Global Times.

"The year 2024 is the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese calendar. It is also the year that the Chinese economy will continue to keep an upward recovery trend, just like 'a 

dragon raising its head'," Wei said.

In response to the US-led Western campaign bad-mouthing and smearing China's economy after the release of the two economies' GDP data, analysts said the rapid 

economic growth of major economies contributes to global economic recovery and will help elevate the confidence of investors and consumers across the world. 

They expressed full confidence in the prospects of the Chinese economy, projecting that it will maintain around 5 percent growth in 2024.

Although the US' nominal GDP in 2023 of 6.3 percent is higher than China's 5.2 percent, the US' real GDP is 2.5 percent, data showed. "Part of the US' high nominal 

GDP growth rate is boosted by inflation and appreciation of the US dollar. Once these factors ease, China's GDP growth rate will be faster than that of the US," He Weiwen, 

senior fellow from the Center for China and Globalization, told the Global Times on Friday.

In addition, even the US' nominal GDP growth rate has shown a declining trend over the past several years, down from 9.2 percent in 2022 and 10.1 percent in 2021, 

which shows that the US economy is not as strong as some US politicians have touted, He Weiwen said.

The first and foremost challenge for the US economy is repeated standoffs due to its debt ceiling. If US debt continues to rise, it will definitely cause a US dollar crisis, 

Li Daokui, director of Tsinghua University's Academic Center for Chinese Economic Practice and Thinking, said at the World Finance Forum on January 20.

He Weiwen said the Chinese economy will continue to maintain overall stable recovery in 2024. Compared with specific GDP goals, it's more important to stabilize the

 property sector, dissolve local government debt risks, nurture new growth points, boost the continuous consumption rebound and improve the external environment, he said.

He said China must be firmly committed to opening-up by actively conducting cooperation with all economies and introducing outstanding knowledge, technologies 

and resources to develop new productive forces.

On Monday, a meeting of the State Council pledged efforts to enhance the innovation and coordination of policy tools, consolidate and strengthen the trend of 

economic recovery, and promote the stable and healthy development of the capital market.

Following the key meeting, multiple government agencies including the People's Bank of China, National Financial Regulatory Administration and National 

Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, announced a series of measures, with the cut of the reserve requirement ratio by 

50 basis points starting from February 5 being an important move.