Millions in China journey home for Lunar New Year

A vendor displays Chinese New Year decorations at a market in Hong Kong's Victoria Park, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Chinese will celebrate the lunar New Year on Feb. 16 this year which marks the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
A couple kiss as they pose for a selfie outside of the Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Millions in China were boarding trains, planes and automobiles Wednesday as the Lunar New Year travel rush, the world's largest seasonal human migration, reached its climax. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Travelers cllmb a pedestrian overpass near the Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Millions in China were boarding trains, planes and automobiles Wednesday as the Lunar New Year travel rush, the world's largest seasonal human migration, reached its climax. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
People walk past dog-themed products at a New Year market in Hong Kong's Victoria Park Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Chinese will celebrate the Lunar New Year on Feb. 16 this year which marks the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
People buy flowers at a New Year market in Hong Kong's Victoria Park Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Chinese will celebrate the lunar New Year on Feb. 16 this year which marks the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Shoppers buy Mandarin oranges at a New Year market in Hong Kong's Victoria Park Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Chinese will celebrate the lunar New Year on Feb. 16 this year which marks the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
A Thai worker decorates lanterns for celebrations of Chinese New Year at the Leng Nuei Yee Chinese temple in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 16 this year, marking the start of the Year of the Dog. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A vendor carries cooked fish for sale at a Chinese market during the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 16 this year, marking the start of the Year of the Dog. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
People buy flowers at a New Year market in Hong Kong's Victoria Park, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Chinese will celebrate the Lunar New Year on Feb. 16 this year which marks the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
A Thai worker decorates lanterns for celebrations of Chinese New Year at the Leng Nuei Yee Chinese temple in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 16 this year, marking the start of the Year of the Dog. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
People buy flowers at a New Year market in Hong Kong's Victoria Park Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Chinese will celebrate the Lunar New Year on Feb. 16 this year which marks the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Women unpack their luggage outside of the Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Millions in China were boarding trains, planes and automobiles Wednesday as the Lunar New Year travel rush, the world's largest seasonal human migration, reached its climax. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Travelers walk outside of the Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Millions in China were boarding trains, planes and automobiles Wednesday as the Lunar New Year travel rush, the world's largest seasonal human migration, reached its climax. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
A man and boy wait near a fence outside of the Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Millions in China were boarding trains, planes and automobiles Wednesday as the Lunar New Year travel rush, the world's largest seasonal human migration, reached its climax. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
A man waits with his luggage outside of the Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Millions in China were boarding trains, planes and automobiles Wednesday as the Lunar New Year travel rush, the world's largest seasonal human migration, reached its climax. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
An ethnic Chinese Thai places candles after praying at the Leng Nuei Yee Chinese temple during the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 16 this year, marking the start of the Year of The Dog. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Chinese paramilitary police patrol outside of the Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Millions in China were boarding trains, planes and automobiles Wednesday as the Lunar New Year travel rush, the world's largest seasonal human migration, reached its climax. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Vendors sell dog-themed products at a New Year market in Hong Kong's Victoria Park Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Chinese will celebrate the lunar new year on Feb. 16 this year which marks the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
People buy flowers at a New Year market in Hong Kong's Victoria Park Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. Chinese will celebrate the lunar New Year on Feb. 16 this year which marks the Year of the Dog in the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

BEIJING — Millions in China were boarding trains, planes and automobiles Wednesday as the Lunar New Year travel rush, the world's largest seasonal human migration, reached its climax.

China's most important festival falls on Friday and people were traveling to either return to their hometowns or flock to vacation destinations. For many migrant workers in the country's industrialized east, the holiday may be the only time of year they return home to see family and friends.

Weeks before the rush, many travelers had used smartphone apps to snatch up tickets that later sold out. Some train journeys between cities and rural areas last more than 20 hours, with passengers crowded into cabins that are standing room only.

The state railway operator reported Monday that 98.8 million people rode trains countrywide during the first 12 days of February. China's official Xinhua news agency said more than 1.1 million were expected to pass through railway stations in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday alone.

Increasing numbers of Chinese have also been traveling abroad in recent years, reflecting rising prosperity among the urban middle class.

More than 6.5 million are expected to head overseas this year, according to a joint report from travel agency Ctrip and the China Tourism Academy.

Travelers have booked voyages to more than 68 nations and regions, the report said, with Thailand, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Nordic countries among the top destinations. The average Chinese tourist spends about 9,500 yuan ($1,500) on a Lunar New Year trip, the report said.

Domestic travel is also popular: the National Tourism Administration predicted earlier this month that this year's holiday period will bring in 476 billion yuan ($75 billion) in tourism revenue.

Must Read

A look at China's foreign policy challenges

Aug 10, 2016

China's simmering feud with South Korea over deployment of an American missile defense system is the latest in a string of foreign policy challenges piling up on President Xi Jinping's desk as he prepares to host next month's annual summit of G20 nations

10 Things to Know for Thursday

Aug 11, 2016

Among 10 Things to Know: Criticism may be slowing Trump train; 'Grim Sleeper' sent to death row; versatile ESPN sportscaster dies at 61

4 months after Japan earthquake, final victim may be found

Aug 10, 2016

Nearly four months later, the final victim of two deadly earthquakes in southern Japan may have been found

People also read these

Hearing on Johnny Depp domestic violence allegations delayed

Aug 9, 2016

A judge is briefly delaying a restraining order hearing involving Johnny Depp and his estranged wife because it is expected to span several days; depositions of both actors set

RNC hires strategists to help woo African-American voters

Aug 9, 2016

The Republican National Committee has hired three new strategists to help increase its outreach to black voters, including Ashley D. Bell as its new senior strategist and national director of African-American engagement

Trump ignites new firestorm: Gun backers might stop Clinton

Aug 10, 2016

Donald Trump sets off a fresh political firestorm by suggesting gun rights supporters might find a way to stop Hillary Clinton if she's elected and nominates anti-gun Supreme Court justices

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH