In an interview with China Global Television Network, Kao said the region is seeing a decrease in travelers during the start of its busiest season. Over the three-day New Year weekend, the total number of visitors was 86.2 million, which was 18.2% down from the year before, with air travel dropping the most at 26.8%.
Despite the lower numbers, travel remains flexible. An estimated 200 million people will hit the roads during Spring Festival, which begins Jan. 22. International travel will be scarce during the spring rush, Kao said, noting the temporary cancellation of a large number of international flights to China, including flights from the U.S., Korea, Russia, Germany, France, and Poland.
The upcoming 2022 Winter Olympic Games, taking place Feb. 4-20 in Beijing, also won’t see as much traffic as in pre-COVID times because the event will be closed to spectators.
Watch Kao’s full interview below: