Trips into and out of China have more than doubled in the first six days of the Lunar New Year holiday compared with the same period last year, official data showed on Friday, as travel demand warmed up after the end of strict COVID-19 curbs.

From Jan. 21 to Jan. 26, a total of 2.39 million trips were made out of and into China, up 123.9% compared with the level in the Jan. 31 to Feb. 5 period last year, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) said in a statement, citing data on trips made by various means of transport.

In early January, following a broad nationwide relaxation of COVID-19 prevention policies, authorities ended a requirement that inbound travellers had to go into quarantine at a hotel upon arrival, a policy that had crippled international travel for about three years.

Despite the improvement in numbers this year for the seven-day holiday period, travel has yet to rebound to pre-COVID levels.

During the Lunar New Year holiday in 2019, a total of 12.53 million cross-border trips were made, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

For the Jan. 21-26 period this year, inbound trips totalled 1.2 million, representing a 127.2% increase from the first six days of the holiday last year, while 1.19 million outbound trips were made, up 120.7%, the NIA said.

Data from the Ctrip travel company showed domestic and international travel orders on its platform for the Lunar New Year holiday both increased to a three-year peak in 2023, with four times as many overall travel orders this year as last year. (Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Robert Birsel)