Spotlight: Macao becomes regional travel hub during Spring Festival holiday

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-08 17:31:52|Editor: mym
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MACAO, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- China's Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) witnessed a robust flow of cross-border movements during the Spring Festival, as over 1.68 million inbound and outbound trips were recorded in the first three days of the first month in Chinese lunar calendar, up 21.6 percent year-on-year.

More than 540,000 tourists came into this small but attractive tourism hub in the three days, up 26.8 percent from the same period last year.

Located in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Macao also has growing influence on Southeast Asian countries through tourism and foreign employment.

The Chinese Spring Festival is changing the festive life of local people and Southeast Asian employees, as well as the traffic flow in the region.

Chan Laimen, a Macao resident in her early 30s, will travel back with her family to her ancestral home for reunion in Zhangzhou, southeast China's Fujian Province.

"This year I choose the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge to start my trip to Zhangzhou. I will join my cousin in Hong Kong SAR and go back by high-speed train in Shenzhen, like other Chinese will do during the Spring Festival travel rush."

She said some of her friends will fly to Thailand or Japan to spend the week-long holiday, instead of going back to hometown.

Chan's housekeeper Nguyen Hao, a 51-year-old Vietnamese, will also share the festive holiday. She plans to go back to Hanoi and take a week off when Chan Laimen's family is in Fujian.

"I will go back to Hanoi from Macao by air in one-hour trip, it is even faster than my relatives coming from other cities of Vietnam," said Nguyen.

Macao has over 60,000 migrant employees from Southeast Asian countries working in home, hotel and restaurant services at the end of 2018, according to the SAR's migrant control department. Among them, about 15,000 are from Vietnam. Most of them go back home during the Spring Festival for similar reasons.

As Macao enters holiday period, some of other foreign migrant workers from the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia will also travel back to their hometown, bringing remarkable traffic pressure on airlines from Macao.

Macao International Airport (MIA) passenger traffic volume and aircraft movements were up by 20 percent and 15 percent respectively in January 2019, compared to the same period last year.

In the first three days of the first month in Chinese lunar calendar, over 80,000 inbound and outbound trips were made through the airport.

During this year's Spring Festival, airlines from MIA plans to add 200 extra and charter flights to accommodate the surging demand of local residents and tourists, according to MIA's public relation department.

Vicki Mou, MIA public relation official, said that the surging traffic flow into and out from Macao can be attributed to Macao's attractive tourism industry, local residents' outbound travel and the homecoming trip of foreign migrant workers, which all add up to each other during this Spring Festival.