(Bloomberg) -- China’s domestic travel hit a record during this year’s Lunar New Year holiday, with both railway and air trips reaching new highs and driving becoming a dominant way for many Chinese travelers.

A total of 7.2 billion trips have been made so far during the 40-day holiday period that ends March 5, Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng said at a press briefing Wednesday. That represents an increase of 10.6% from 2023 and 9.1% from 2019, he said. 

Rail and air travel both hit record highs, Li said, without giving a detailed breakdown. And a record of more than 5.8 million trips were made by car, accounting for more than 80% of all journeys. 

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“Driving has become the absolute dominant way in this year’s Spring Festival, meaning a major structural shift,” Li said. 

The country’s transport authorities expect a record 9 billion trips during the holiday period, and there are still six days to go before the travel rush officially ends. 

In addition, a total number of 61.3 billion domestic trips were made in all of 2023, a 31% increase from 2022, and a 0.8% gain from 2019, the year before the pandemic hit.

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