China's Golden Week holiday starts with record number of travellers, massive traffic jams

Tourists wait to visit the Forbidden City in central Beijing, China, on Oct 1, 2017.
Tourists wait to visit the Forbidden City in central Beijing, China, on Oct 1, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS
A Chinese tourist using their mobile phone to take a photograph in Tiananmen Square during National Day celebrations in Beijing, China on Oct 1 2017.
A Chinese tourist using their mobile phone to take a photograph in Tiananmen Square during National Day celebrations in Beijing, China on Oct 1 2017.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
A tourist is pictured outside the Forbidden City in central Beijing, China on Oct 1, 2017.
A tourist is pictured outside the Forbidden City in central Beijing, China on Oct 1, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS
A tourist is pictured behind Tiananmen Gate in central Beijing, China, on China's 68th National Day on Oct 1, 2017.
A tourist is pictured behind Tiananmen Gate in central Beijing, China, on China's 68th National Day on Oct 1, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS
People wait for a tourist car outside the Forbidden City in central Beijing, China, on China's 68th National Day on Oct 1, 2017.
People wait for a tourist car outside the Forbidden City in central Beijing, China, on China's 68th National Day on Oct 1, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING - Nearly 1,000 passengers missed their flights at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport after being stranded on the airport expressway because of a massive traffic jam on Sunday (Oct 1).

Elsewhere in China, millions stood in long lines at train stations across the country, and large groups of travellers packed into resorts.

People in China are taking advantage of this year's longest public holiday to travel domestically, causing traffic jams and overcrowding at major tourist attractions.

More than 15 million railway trips were made on Sunday alone, the country's National Day and the first day of an eight-day holiday, China Daily reported on Tuesday.

That number set a record in daily rail passenger traffic, and more than 113 million people flooded resorts around the country, said rail and tourist authorities.

The eight-day holiday is the year's longest public holiday as Mid-Autumn Festival coincides with the National Day holiday this year.

Sunday's estimate of 15 million trips was up 4.2 per cent from the 14.4 million trips made on National Day last year, according to rail system administrator China Railway.

A total of 130 million rail trips were forecast for the entire holiday travel season.

In addition, 560 million road trips and 15.9 million trips by water are expected, according to the Ministry of Transport.

More than 13 million trips are expected by air, an increase of 14 per cent, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said. The number of daily flights was pegged at nearly 14,800, according to China Daily.

Beijing Capital International Airport, China's busiest, expects to see 3.95 million trips during the rush, the airport said.

Provinces took measures to ease traffic congestion on Sunday.

In Jiangsu province, police used 80 drones for traffic surveillance, China Daily reported. About 1,000 patrol cars equipped with video transmission systems received real-time information sent by the drones. The drones had helped clear 52 minor road crashes by 4pm on Sunday, according to the provincial public security department.

Visitors were estimated to have made 115 million trips across China on Sunday, a year-on-year increase of 10.5 per cent, according to the China National Tourism Administration.

They were estimated to have spent 96.5 billion yuan (S$19.8 billion), 12.2 per cent more than on National Day last year.

For those heading overseas, Russia, Australia and the United States were cited by industry sources as popular destinations, as were countries in East Asia and South-east Asia.