According to Agoda.com, Tokyo is the most popular city destination for this year’s Lunar New Year holiday among Asian tourists. Bangkok has maintained the number one spot for a few years now. Overall, Japanese cities increased in popularity on Agoda’s list over Southeast Asian destinations. For Chinese tourists specifically, Hong Kong was the number one destination, climbing from 2nd. Phuket and Bangkok came in 2nd and 3rd respectively for Chinese tourists.
Japan is quickly becoming not only a more popular destination with Chinese tourists, but for Asian tourists in general
Along with Tokyo taking the top spot for Asian tourists, Osaka climbed to 3rd from 7th last year and Kyoto made it on the list for the first time at 9th. Interestingly, warmer, more “beach-oriented” destinations seem to be falling out of favor this year for Lunar New Year travel. It seems logical that more tourists would want to take an opportunity for some respite from the cold to travel to Thailand or Indonesia.
Still, for Chinese tourists, Thailand seems to be holding steady as a Lunar New Year holiday destination, even as Bangkok fell from 1st to 3rd. Phuket and Chiang Mai were also in the top ten at 2nd and 5th respectively. Bali and Boracay were also in the top ten for Chinese tourists at 9th and 10th.
Thailand remains the primary foreign destination for Chinese tourism during the Lunar New Year
For Chinese tourists, Japan is clearly becoming a more desirable destination, even though it continues to lag well-behind Thailand. In Agoda’s list Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo climbed to 4th, 7th, and 8th. However, Kyoto did not make the top ten for Chinese tourists. It’s close proximity to Osaka means that many Chinese travelers to Osaka may still plan on visiting Kyoto regardless.
Sapporo’s first time inclusion on the list may be for the city’s world-famous snow festival.
Still, these figures are only sourced from Agoda’s own data and do not represent total arrivals to a destination. Thailand may still very well attract more Asian tourists total than Japan during the Lunar New Year, even if it isn’t dominating Agoda’s rankings for Asian travel during this period. Moreover, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and Phuket were all on the list at 2nd, 7th, 8th, and 10th respectively.
South Korea and Taiwan have held steady in the rankings, despite diplomatic turmoil
Taipei also made the list, retaining its 4th place position on the list for Asian tourism from last year. Despite a drop in Chinese tourism due to retaliation by the Chinese government for the election of Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, overall tourism to the island has been buoyed by increased tourism from other Asian source markets, particularly South Korea. Tourism overall to Taiwan has even grown since 2015.
Chinese tourism to Taiwan now appears to be in recovery. Taipei has held steady on Agoda’s list for Chinese tourists at 6th, down from 5th in 2015, for Chinese tourists.
Surprisingly, Seoul maintained a relatively high position on the list for Asian travel, climbing to 5th from 6th. This is despite South Korea’s ongoing strained relations with China and the so-called “tourism ban” and a subsequent plunge of Chinese tourism. Although relations between China and South Korea appear to have normalized somewhat, the status of restrictions on the sale of tour group packages to South Korea still appears to be in limbo.