Lunar New Year travels on the quiet

BANGKOK, 3 February 2021: Governments in Asia are telling people to stay close to home during the Lunar New Year holiday in a move to control Covid-19 infections.

For the first time in decades, overseas trips are off the agenda for Chinese travellers during the 40-day so-called Spring Festival. Even visits to Macau, considered a domestic destination for Chinese living in adjacent provinces, the message is clear; take a rain check.

Agoda one of Asia’s leading holiday booking platform, acknowledges that with most international borders closed during the Lunar New Year holiday season,  domestic destinations are now in the spotlight. It reports bookings are increasing for places like Xian (China), Medan (Indonesia) and Langkawi (Malaysia) positioning them in the top Lunar New Year destinations likely to see visitors.

Across the region, families or group travellers are the number one traveller type, as many people plan to celebrate the Lunar New Year with loved ones. Thai and Indonesian travellers, in particular, are focusing more on travelling with family and friends this year. This is evident in Thailand as Chinese New Year (12 February) for the first time ever appears on the official government holiday calendar.

Agoda notes that couples are taking over from group or families as the most popular Lunar New Year traveller type in China this year.  Couples dominate the top spot in advance booking trends in Japan and the Philippines. In Japan, solo travellers remain the second most popular traveller type.

Upgrade treats

Malaysian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese travellers are taking advantage of great value deals to upgrade to four to five-star accommodation to celebrate this year, while Chinese travellers maintain their desire for luxury stays.

While hotels continue to rank higher than non-hotel accommodation which includes service apartments, unique homes, villas and resorts, non-hotel accommodation options have become more popular for travellers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam travellers.

“Just like the mythical Ox of the Chinese zodiac, the Asian traveller is proving their resilience and strength this Lunar New Year through their determination to get away and make the most of domestic travel opportunities, says Agoda’s vice president corporate development, Timothy Hughes.

“In a change from non-Covid times, our data shows us that beach and countryside spots are more popular than capital city breaks and high energy destinations.  People want to reward their hard work and resilience with upgraded stays in top-class areas, be it beach destinations, such as Phu Quoc (Vietnam) or Boracay Island (the Philippines), scenic mountains like Khao Yai (Thailand) and Chiayi (Taiwan), or historic cultural destinations like Xian (China).”