Where do people travel for Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is the most significant holiday in China and is celebrated by millions of people worldwide. This centuries-old festival, commemorating the start of a new lunar calendar, is not only a time for vibrant festivities but also a prime period of travel. Often referred to as the world’s largest annual human migration, or ‘Chunyun,’ this exodus involves millions of people traversing the globe to reunite with family or explore new destinations. This write-up delves into the popular travel spots and patterns during Chinese New Year.
The most common travel trend during Chinese New Year is the return to one’s hometown or ancestral home. In China, this is often a journey from major urban areas to more rural regions. Migrant workers, students, and city dwellers across China embark on this journey, known as the “Spring Festival travel rush,” leading to a surge in demand for trains, buses, and flights domestically.
However, the travel patterns during Chinese New Year extend beyond domestic borders. Over the years, with rising income levels and changing lifestyles, an increasing number of Chinese nationals have been exploring international travel during this holiday period.
Let’s explore some of the most popular domestic and international destinations during the Chinese New Year:
Beijing: As the capital city and a cultural hub of China, Beijing sees a significant influx of tourists during the New Year celebrations. Highlights include temple fairs, New Year’s Eve fireworks, and the Lantern Festival.
Xi’an: Known for the famous Terracotta Army, Xi’an offers a range of New Year activities, including traditional rites at the ancient city wall and the bustling food street in Muslim Quarter.
Harbin: This city hosts the spectacular Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, which aligns with the Lunar New Year. Travelers flock to Harbin to see the incredible sculptures and enjoy winter activities.
Thailand: Known for its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and hospitality, Thailand has become a top destination for Chinese tourists during New Year. Bangkok and Phuket are among the most visited places.
Japan: Proximity, advanced technology, and cultural experiences make Japan a favored destination. Places like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hokkaido offer a mix of modern and traditional attractions.
Australia: The Lunar New Year aligns with Australia’s summer, making it an appealing destination. Sydney hosts a large Lunar New Year festival, attracting many Chinese tourists.
While these are popular destinations, a considerable number of Chinese citizens also choose to travel to Europe, the United States, and Canada to celebrate the New Year. These regions host grand Chinese New Year festivities in cities with significant Chinese populations, such as San Francisco, Vancouver, and London.
Recent trends have also shown an increase in ‘revenge travel,’ where people are making up for the inability to travel due to COVID-19 restrictions. Once international travel restrictions are eased, destinations such as the Maldives, Bali, New Zealand, and various European countries are expected to see a surge in Chinese tourists.
However, it’s important to remember that Chinese New Year is ultimately a time for family reunions, feasting on festive food, giving and receiving red envelopes (hongbao), and participating in traditional activities. Whether these celebrations happen in the comfort of one’s home, in the bustling streets of Beijing, or on a beach in Thailand, the spirit of the New Year remains the same.
In conclusion, Chinese New Year is a critical period of travel for Chinese people worldwide. Whether the journey leads them to their hometowns or across continents, the driving force behind this mass migration is the desire to