FROM:Hong Kong (CNN) —
FROM:Hong Kong (CNN) — China is on the move again. As October 1 arrives, hundreds of millions of people are expected to pack highways, trains and planes for the National Day holiday, one of the busiest times for travel in the world's most populous country.
The eight-day Mid-Autumn Festival break is China's first major holiday since it emerged from the coronavirus outbreak. While life has largely returned to normal in recent months, the upcoming "Golden Week" holiday will be an ambitious test of China's success in taming the virus -- and a much-awaited boost to its economic recovery.
Last year, a total of 782 million domestic trips were made during the holiday, generating nearly 650 billion yuan ($95 billion) of tourism revenue, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
The ministry predicts 550 million domestic trips to be made this year, while Ctrip, China's largest online travel agency, estimates the number to be over 600 million -- both above 70% of last year's level.
The scale of mass movement in such a short period of time is unthinkable in many parts of the world, where governments are still struggling to control soaring infections. In the United States, the number of coronavirus cases topped 7 million over the weekend. Much of Europe is now in the grip of a second wave of infections; even countries largely spared by the first wave, such as Greece and Croatia, have seen cases surging as tourists took summer vacations following the reopening of Europe's internal borders in June.
But for now, the virus is much less of a concern for Chinese holidaymakers, given China's close to zero local transmission and some of the world's strictest border control measures.
Chen Qianmei, a 29-year-old from the southern city of Guangzhou, flew to Shanghai on Tuesday for her Mid-Autumn Festival vacation. She said she wasn't worried about the virus, although she still took precautions.
"I think China has (the virus) under pretty good control," she said. "I'm wearing masks and bringing alcohol wipes with me to clean my hands, especially before eating -- although in Shanghai, few people wear masks now."