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Sunny weather blesses holiday travellers
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-01 00:56

The weather has been more than small talk recently as people look forward to the National Day holiday, which begins Friday and will see millions of people travel around the country.

Luck falls on the country's capital as clear skies are expected to prevail over much of the holidays, according to forecasts from the Beijing Meteorological Bureau.

However, the temperature will drop dramatically and experts with the Beijing Meteorological Bureau suggest that residents and tourists wrap up to keep warm.

Affected by a strong cold front, the eastern region of Northwest China, North China and Northeast China will experience windy and chilly weather Friday and Saturday.

Meteorological experts advise ship passengers to be alert for strong winds blowing along the eastern and southern coasts as well as the Yangtze River.

"Most regions of the country are expected to embrace sunny weather, which is perfect for travelling," said Bi Baogui, a weather forecaster with China Central Meteorological Observatory.

He said Southwest China would see periodic drizzle during the holiday.

The nice weather is good news for travellers and transportation authorities around the country are bracing for an expected surge in traffic.

The Ministry of Communication predicts that some 30 million passengers will board buses and coaches starting Monday through to October 7.

Local bus stations have increased the number of routes and extended working hours to ensure smooth travelling.

Meanwhile, Beijing has added more buses to cope with the crush of people heading to the Great Wall and other popular sightseeing destinations.

Chinese travellers will make 37.7 million journeys by train during the week-long holiday, 3 per cent more than the same period last year, said the Chinese Ministry of Railways.

The ministry plans to add 100 special tourist trains during the holiday to ease transport pressure.

All local railway departments have been ordered to prepare emergency plans for the travel "golden week."

The ministry estimated that more than four million passengers travelled by train Thursday and train tickets were sold out on major inter-city travel routes Friday.

Tickets for trains leaving the capital to major cities, including Shanghai and Changsha Thursday and Friday also sold out as thousands of travellers began leaving Beijing ahead of the holiday.

China's civil aviation authority estimates that up to 2.5 million passengers will travel by air, a 15 per cent growth over the same period last year.

Civil air administrations have approved over 2,000 extra flights during the holiday period, most of which will be added to help deal with the surge of passengers in tourist areas and large cities.

"There weren't any discount air tickets to almost anywhere for Thursday and Friday," said Xiao Chen, who sells tickets at SINOPEC International Travel Service Co Ltd in Beijing.

According to Chen, Thursday and Friday are peak days with another spike expected from October 5 to 7, when people begin to return for work.

Discount air ticket are available for the middle of the week-long holiday if passengers book immediately.

Air travel has spiked ahead of the holiday. Online booking is up, easing congestion at airports.

The State Administration of Work Safety has issued a notice on work safety ahead of the week-long National Day holiday, urging greater transport safety with millions of people expecting to travel.

Although travelling seems to be the hot topic of the holidays, the majority of Shanghai's residents would rather rest at home than take a trip, reported the Shanghai Daily.

According to a survey conducted by Horizon Research among 437 local residents aged between 18 and 75, nearly 40 per cent of the respondents said they would stay at home and get some rest during the holiday period, watching TV and DVDs alone or chatting with family members.

Making use of the long vacation to visit relatives within the city or gather together with friends were also popular choices, the survey said.

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