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Traveling abroad popular for Spring Festival
Updated: 2005-02-01 00:33

With only one week before China's lunar new year, it is a tradition to clean the house, prepare for food and purchase gifts. However, Zou Peiyuan, a law firm employee, bought airplane tickets for his family trip.

"It is the first time that our whole family spent the New Year' s eve on board," Zou said, "when we arrive in Australia, it will be the beginning of the Rooster year. Of course, it is summer time. "

Air hostess Li Yan of Air China will welcome the first sunlight of the new year on board for the third time. "We will prepare special meal and interactive program for passengers on that day. Cabin crew and passengers will have a very good time," she said.

 She added when she spent her first new year working a flight five years ago, the seats were less than 40 percent filled. Most of passengers were business people who could not return home before the spring festival because of a heavy work load. They were all anxiously looking at their watches, she said.

 According to Chinese tradition, the whole family will stay at home and having a reunion dinner on the new year's eve.

 But in the past two years, the plane has become increasingly crowded, mainly with tourists.

 Statistics from Beijing travel agencies indicated that the number of outbound tourists will reach 28,000 this year, hitting the record high. Shanghai, Guangzhou and other big cities all have similar numbers.

 "It used to be a quiet period in the airport years ago,  nowadays, however, it becomes even busier than ordinary days," said Xu Zhanxiang, who worked in Beijing Capital Airport for nearly 20 years. The outbound and domestic tourists shared the market by half.

 The outbound visitors will fly to traditional destinations such as Australia, Japan as well as new destinations such as Mauritius, Kenya, Italy and France.

 Up to 300 flights nationwide will be added from February 6 to 10 on average daily, in order to meet the demand of passengers. The total passenger volume is expected to reach 12.6 million during the spring festival, up 12.5 percent compared with the previous year.

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