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4 Million People to Take Trains for Holidays

About 4 million people would travel by train during the May Day holidays, the Nanfang Daily reported Monday.

Quoting Guangdong railway administration estimates, the paper said the period from April 28 to May 7 would be the peak time for train travelers.

Passenger numbers would increase by 1.7 percent compared with the May Day "golden week" in 2002, the administration said.

About 450,000 people would depart Guangdong by rail on May 1, an increase of 23 percent over last year's figures for the same period.

The administration had established a task force to handle passenger flows during the peak time. Task force members will be on duty 24 hours a day from April 28 to May 8.

The administration will run eight special luxury trains during the holidays. Destinations popular with tourists include Guilin, Wuyi Mountain, Taiyuan, Beijing, Zhangjiajie and Changsha.

Eleven extra trains will also run to cope with the holiday rush.

Guangzhou Railway Station saw an average of 60,000 travelers leaving Guangzhou in late April, an increase of 20 percent over normal times.

Most train tickets for April 30 and May 1 have already been sold out.

The demand would be higher for tickets to Beijing, Zhengzhou, Wuchang, Changsha, Zhangjiajie, Guilin, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Zhanjiang and Shantou, the station said.

About 70 percent of Guangzhou citizens planned outings during the holidays, according to a survey of the city's holiday office.

The office surveyed 1990 citizens in 600 families from April 16 to 19.

The survey found that the average spending of Guangzhou citizens would be 489.9 yuan (US$59).

More than half of those surveyed said they preferred an outing inside Guangzhou City. Only 5.2 percent said they would travel to destinations outside the province, a decline of 9.6 percent compared with the same period last year. But the number of travelers to northeast China would double, the survey showed.

More people would travel in their own cars and fewer would use travel agencies than in previous years.

More than 15 percent said they would drive their own cars for outings, an increase of 1.7 percent over the Spring Festival week this year.

The total number of Guangzhou travelers would double that of last year's May Day holidays when there was a SARS outbreak.

(Shenzhen Daily April 27, 2004)

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