As an estimated 7 million Chinese travelers are set to venture overseas during the Lunar New Year holiday, which officially runs between February 4th and 10th, destinations around the world are preparing to welcome this influx with a variety of events and promotions.
One tried-and-true method has been planning celebrations to ring in the Lunar New Year. Some of these events are planned by local governments and spread throughout the cities, while others are handled by private organizations, such as museums, retailers, and local Chinese communities.
For example, Sydney, a major outbound destination for Chinese travelers, may have one of the largest displays for the Year of the Pig. The city government is hosting a display of Chinese zodiac lanterns at various locations around Sydney Harbor from February 1st to 10th. The display isn’t only for Chinese visitors, but the display locations are sure to attract tourist interest. Sydney has also created a user-friendly visitors map to the locations of the lanterns that can be paired with its “Culture Walks” app. The app, however, is only available in English and there is, as of yet, no official WeChat mini-program for the city.
Meanwhile, half a world away, Chicago is also planning events for the sixth consecutive year. In fact, it is the only U.S. city to have an official celebration promoted by the city government. The Chicago Cultural Center will host a performance by the China National Peking Opera Company to open the celebrations on February 4th, and the destination marketing organization Choose Chicago has set up promotions for the events across major cities in China as well.
On the retail front, New York City is taking the lead in the hopes that Chinese tourists will spend more during the holiday. The Shops at Columbus Circle will host events in collaboration with the New York Chinese Cultural Center on February 2nd to bring in more foot traffic to the stores and attempt to convert those visitors into shoppers with an enticing offer — shoppers who spend more than $88 will receive a branded red notebook that may contain a gift card.
Whether events such as these will be a major draw for Chinese tourists this year is uncertain, but it should be of interest for at least some of the visitors. In particular, Sydney’s plan of placing lanterns around popular tourist stops will make the city’s celebrations more appealing and visible. And given the importance of social media buzz, we can expect more destinations to follow with their own holiday events and promotions.