Rather than staying at home, more and more Chinese people prefer to travel during the Spring Festival holidays, the most important traditional holiday in China.
Nearly 300,000 Chinese people will go to Hainan, China's southernmost province, to spend the seven-day holiday, according to the tourism departments in Hainan.
Another 200,000 people plan to spend the holidays in Guilin in south China Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Chen, from northeast China's Shenyang province, one of the coldest areas in the country, says he and his family like visiting Hainan Province because the winter there is warm.
"It is worthwhile to buy sunshine here," said Chen Bo. "Hainan's winter is attractive." On the first day of the Chinese Lunar new year, 92 more air flights arrived or took off from Hainan's Meilan International Airport to satisfy the growing number of travelers.
Those who chose to stay at home also had new contents in their holidays. Besides the traditional family carnivals, watching TV and visiting relatives and friends, some people dined at restaurants and hotels, while others treated themselves to films or just surfed on Internet.
Young people are always attracted to things that are new and exotic. In Hohhot in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, many young people went to disco and karaoke halls to celebrate on the eve of the Spring Festival.
An increasing number of the Chinese people are conveying festival greetings by e-mail. China's capital, Beijing, now has more than four million Internet users, leading the country in the number of the Internet surfers.
Computer retailers are also seizing this seasonal opportunity to jump-start the consumer market. In Chongqing, children who go to the McDonald's during the festival can even win a palm computer.
"It is a time to renew traditional city life," said Han Yue, a government official in Beijing. "Twenty years ago, we bought just food as a new year gift ； 10 years ago, we bought color TV sets；today, we buy computers. Only by using the Internet, you can really know you are in the 21st century."
People in China also have shown a special liking for fresh flowers, fruits and even books, which are seen as popular gifts during the festival, instead of food and wine.
Experts said that this indicated an improvement in the living standard.
(People’s Daily 01/26/2001)