Chinese air travel has resurged ahead of the Lunar new year despite worries of new infections. This comes after the Chinese government dialed back its zero-Covid policies, thus reopening the economy.
This change has seen a 63% recovery of air passenger volumes to 2019 levels. The Chinese transport ministry predicts a 99.5% jump in passenger traffic volumes in the year following the Lunar calendar, which translates to 70.3% of 2019 levels.
In Macau, the gambling hub of the country, 46,000 daily inbound travelers arrived on Friday; the highest tally since early 2020 when the pandemic emerged. The city expects a travel boom during the Spring Festival period.
Song Zhiyong, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, has cautioned that one such travel boom could have an adverse effect on the Chinese economy as rapid returns to travel are making it challenging for airline staff to ensure the safety of passengers, putting them at risk.
In addition to travel, cinemas have also seen a resurgence in attendance. Cinemas are expected to generate a revenue of 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) during the Spring Festival period.