Lunar New Year Sees Intraregional APAC Travel, Spike in Interest to Japan

Sojern’s latest travel trends for this Lunar New Year.

January 4, 2023


Chinese New Year 2023 falls on 22 January, where we celebrate the new year and ring in the sign of the Rabbit. The sign of the Rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace, and prosperity in Chinese culture. This new year “embodies yin, the passive principle of the universe, which manifests in relaxation, fluidity, quietness and contemplation”. predicted to be one of hope

As we say goodbye to the year of the Tiger, we anticipate the upcoming Chinese New Year to be a big one for travel, as the final COVID-19 restrictions come down in the APAC region. Here are Sojern’s latest trends for this Lunar New Year.

Regional Travel High with Jumps in Travel Demand from Singapore and Taiwan

Top Flight Booking Origins over Chinese New Year Period to APAC Destinations, 2022

Top Flight Booking Origins over Chinese New Year Period to APAC Destinations, 2023

Looking at the Chinese New Year period (21-27 January), we see a mix of short and long-haul travel. The United States, which comprised nearly one-quarter of the flight searches to APAC over the Lunar New Year period last year, is nearly half that amount in 2023. 

Currently, regional travel within APAC looks strong. We see Singapore showing the highest percent of outbound travel intent during this period, as well as a strong showing from Taiwan and South Korea, both of which didn’t even factor in the top 10 origin markets in 2022.

Travel Marketing Tip: Use travel intent data to make smarter digital marketing decisions, and inspire those currently in the planning stage of their next trip to visit your location or hotel. 

Massive Jump in Intent to Japan After Recently Relaxing Restrictions

Top Search Destinations for Flights over Chinese New Year Period, 2022

Top Search Destinations for Flights over Chinese New Year Period, 2023

Singapore and Thailand were both widely recognised for successfully handling the COVID-19 pandemic, with the latter relaxing its travel restrictions as early as October 2020. So it is no surprise that both remain in the top three destinations in both 2022 and 2023. Philippines and Malaysia also continue to be popular destinations for travellers, rounding off the top five in both years.

Japan, on the other hand, maintained some of the longest-standing travel restrictions on inbound travellers, and only relaxed those restrictions in recent months. Travellers are responding positively to this development, and acting on the pent-up demand for travel to Japan. This year, searches for travel to Japan are nearly 20% of all searches to APAC.

Travel Marketing Tip: While travel demand to Japan has jumped this year, there is a lot of competition to attract travellers to their destinations. For destination marketers, we suggest taking a multichannel approach to reach these in-market travellers and keep your destination top of mind as people plan and book their travel. That means being present across display, search, social media, and more.

Travellers Planning on Taking a Long Break for Lunar New Year

Duration of Stay, Flight Bookings Chinese New Year Period, 2022

Duration of Stay, Flight Bookings Chinese New Year Period, 2023

As the major holiday in the region, Lunar New Year is an important time for people to reconnect with family or relax by taking a much-deserved holiday. As such, we see longer durations of stay during this period. Last year, well over half (55%) of booked trips were for a week or longer, with 35% being longer than two weeks. While we see similar trends for 2023, we also see a jump in trip durations of four to seven days in length. 

It’s worth noting that the 2022 data shows all booking data made for 2022 Chinese New Year. The 2023 chart shows data up to late December, when the data was originally pulled.

Travel Marketing Tip: It’s clear that travellers can be persuaded to stay longer, so we suggest that hotel marketers do what they can to lengthen their guests’ stay. If you have a spa onsite, perhaps offering a discount to those staying longer than a week, would be a good incentive to secure those longer-term bookings.

Happy Chinese New Year and Gong Xi Fa Cai to all our colleagues, clients, family, and friends celebrating this year. For the latest travel trends, remember to check out our Travel Insights Dashboard.

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