We spotlight the latest news shedding light on the world of Chinese cultural travel. This week: outstanding Chinese New Year initiatives.
Every winter, the planet’s largest movement of people takes place as the Chinese New Year approaches. While the majority of the 450 million trips are domestic, an ever-increasing number of Chinese are choosing to spend their annual leave abroad — seven million trips according to China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI). In response, museums, cultural institutions, and hotels around the world are tailoring initiatives and programming to accommodate and entice Chinese travelers.
Asia’s premium lifestyle resort will stage dragon dance performances at S.E.A. Aquarium and Universal Studios Singapore with the requisite Chinese drumming and festive costumes on display. Visitors watching the aquarium’s show will receive a pair of limited edition aquatic-themed New Year couplets. Such moves have been promoted across the resort’s WeChat account and is complemented by the recently created Alipay Mini Program, which allows visitors to book meals and purchase discounted tickets directly on the Alipay app.
Zoolumination is America’s largest lantern display but goes further than merely presenting 500 silk lanterns. Chinese artists are invited to display traditional wares from stone carvings to fan paintings and a team of acrobats and entertainers from Zigong, China, will perform nightly. The month-long event draws around one million visitors annually, but Nashville Zoo hopes to grow this number by strengthening its China connections. It has set about collaborating with the Greater Nashville Chinese Association and the Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville to reach regional Chinese communities.
Beyond increasing China-specific advertising and programs, Destination DC is centering its Chinese New Year efforts around the city’s cultural institutions. Smithsonian American Art Museum is running a free cultural extravaganza involving paper cutting, calligraphy demonstrations, and acrobatic troupe performance. Freer|Sackler will host live musical performances and puppetry in the same space as its prized Chinese art exhibitions. Back in November, Destination D.C. also connected with tour operator Tuniu and tech company Tencent to offer Double 11 hotel discounts for the New Year period.
The Gaudí masterpiece will be lit red in celebration of Chinese New Year and visitors can enjoy a small Chinese culture exhibition as part of a wider tour, which can be experienced through a Chinese-language 3D video navigator. Marketing efforts include inviting the Chinese Consul General in Barcelona and Chinese media to attend the event as well as regular posts on WeChat and Weibo channels. The seasonal activities have also been advertised on the attraction’s official Chinese website.
Presented in partnership with the Asian Arts Initiative, the 39th annual CultureFest! Lunar New Year at the Penn Museum showcases traditional Chinese art and culture. The event is free with museum admission and features martial arts demonstrations, storytelling, games, calligraphy, a vendor fair, and crafts for all ages. All festivities are supported by Chinese-language tours. Beyond local media promotion, Penn Museum worked with Visit Philadelphia, Philadelphia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and placed ads in the Metro Chinese Weekly.