February 5, 2019 - millions of people around the world are gathering to ring in the Lunar New Year – this year honoring the Pig. The week-long holiday, also known as the “Spring Festival”, is the biggest celebration in China - filled with rituals, family reunions and feasting. It is also the world’s biggest human migration every year: in 2018, 385 Million Chinese people left major cities to visit their families in rural parts of China and 6.5 Million people traveled abroad.
While long haul trips are attractive to some, many travelers in the Asia-Pacific region still prefer to vacation closer to home: Bangkok, Tokyo and Taipei are the top three destinations in 2019, as revelead by digital travel platform Agoda.
The choice of these destinations is not surprising as food and leisure activities feature high in family bonding during the New Year holidays, and almost all the destinations are gourmet and retail paradise.
Here’s a look at top travel destinations by market.
The Lunar New Year is celebrated in many cities across Asia, but Chinese travelers enjoy the longest holiday. With a week off Chinese tourists are spending their time overseas in cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo and Bangkok.
This year, Hong Kongers chose Japan, Thailand and Taiwan over the previously favoured Korea, which dropped out of the top three spot to fifth. Staycations have also risen in popularity, and Hong Kong made its way into the top 10 this year as well.
Indonesians are venturing further this year to celebrate the festival, with Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo taking up two out of three of its top travel destinations. Japan is rising in popularity, as Sapporo with its winter wonderland make it into the top 10 destinations for Indonesians.
Thailand continues to be a hot spot for those seeking a tropical celebration, and Hawaii makes its entry into the top 10 list for the first time.
Malaysians continue to favour traveling domestically with eight out of the top 10 destinations within the country. Thailand remains the only overseas destination for them.
Singaporeans prefer to travel to neighbouring countries to spend the short New Year public holidays. For the first time, staycations have emerged as a popular choice for those who prefer staying home to celebrate the festival.
Taiwanese are traveling within the region to spend the holidays, with Kaohsiung rising to clinch the top position. For the first time in three years, Kyoto has slipped out of the top 10 ranking.