SHANGHAI, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- China's "spring rush" often sees millions of urban workers leaving big cities for family reunions, but fresh data showed that the trend is increasingly reversing as more families are heading for metropolises for the Chinese New Year.
According to online travel agency Ctrip, bookings for plane tickets to 10 big cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou one week before the Chinese New Year's Eve surged 40 percent from a year ago.
The data showed plane tickets sold to children and passengers over the age 50 during the period rose by 39 percent and 42 percent respectively.
China's busy "spring rush" -- annual return of urban workers to their hometowns for Lunar New Year holiday -- often drives up plane ticket prices from big cities to smaller ones, while tickets for trips in reverse are cheaper with greater discounts.
"Due to the low availability and high price of the tickets, people who choose the 'opposite spring rush' have greatly increased, and reunions in big cities are becoming more popular," the report said.
Zhang Lan, who works at a service center in Shanghai, will work five days during the seven-day holiday, and her parents will fly from her hometown Chongqing in southwest China to stay with her.
"If I go back to Chongqing, I will have to spend at least 3,500 yuan (518 U.S. dollars) on tickets, but it will only cost 2,400 yuan for both of my parents to come here," said Zhang.
Zhang said she plans to take her parents to Shanghai's popular sites during her spare time, such as the Yuyuan Garden and the Bund, where various celebrations will be held.
This year's spring rush is expected to see nearly 3 billion passengers traveling across the country, with 73 million traveling by air, up 12 percent from a year ago, according to the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planning agency.