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For many years, the long established cultural norm among Chinese has been to travel home for the Chinese New Year holiday. It has been regarded as sacred time to spend with family, and the trip is commonly referred to as “the journey home.”

This year, 68 percent of Chinese reported to have travel plans during the Spring Festival holiday, which extends from January 21st to March 1st. The travelers tend to fall between the ages of 25 and 45, hail from nuclear families, and a significant portion are millennials.

But is it true that the majority of these travelers are headed home to mom and dad’s house? Maybe not all of them — in fact, reports from Ctrip.com International show that an estimated 7 million Chinese have plans to go abroad. And if they’re traveling internationally, they tend to opt for destinations that are convenient to reach, economical, and, more importantly, allow them to escape the frigid Chinese winter.

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Part of the Chinese New Year campaign from Santa Monica Travel & Tourism

Thailand and Indonesia are the two most popular outbound destinations this year, in addition to Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. And, these destinations certainly anticipate the influx of Chinese travelers during this time, as evident in marketing campaigns and integrations of Chinese tech modalities.

Take New Zealand South, which is aptly offering an Alipay campaign running from mid-January through the end of February, offering promotions, red packet QR codes, and a cash drawing for visitors using the app during their stay.

But embracing and participating in the Chinese New Year holiday is an imperative for any major destination, regardless of geographic location. In what will be an industry-first, the Hylink team worked with Santa Monica Travel & Tourism (SMTT) to create a Douyin video to air on February 5th, featuring one of our American team members and a Chinese team member wishing followers a happy lunar new year through shots of various locations in Santa Monica.

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The San Francisco Travel Association launched a campaign for the new year on Mafengwo

Douyin, the most popular video social media app inside of China, has been yet to be tapped by most American DMOs, and SMTT took the opportunity of the national holiday to kick off their presence on the wildly popular short video app. Additionally, the DMO shared a “happy new year” card on their WeChat account, visually showing, through shots of Santa Monica, the city’s appreciation of the holiday. Hylink also worked with San Francisco Travel Association (SFTA) on a Chinese New Year campaign on online travel agency Mafengwo, leveraging open screen ads and banner ads to showcase the destination, in partnership with Brand USA and United Airlines.

It is ever-important for destinations to show to Chinese that they understand, appreciate, and take part in the holidays and cultural events that are most important to them. Whether this means running large-scale ad campaigns, tapping Chinese publishers and tech, or simply sharing a holiday card on WeChat, it’s an opportunity to share something meaningful with the ever-engaged Chinese outbound traveler.

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Features, Travel Trends