As more Chinese move into cities, there are more who need to return home for China’s Spring Festival. The world’s largest mass migration just keeps getting larger, with 2.91 billion trips expected to be made in China over this year’s festival period – 100 million more than last year.
The Lunar New Year period brings its predictable barrage of selfies from crowded transport hubs, tales of long journeys home riding pillion through sub-arctic conditions and fake girlfriends and boyfriends earning as much as $450 to keep Mama to Baba happy back in the village.
Yet not everyone will be munching on dumplings with one eye on CCTV’s Gala and the other on WeChat. More and more Chinese are shunning family traditions to shop, sightsee and dine in spots like Bondi and Bali (albeit, with one eye still on WeChat).
Last year’s Spring Festival saw 5 million Chinese travel internationally. If the 11% rise in outbound trips during the 2015 October Golden Week’s and general tourism growth trends are anything to go by, we can expect to see many more Chinese head overseas this February.
There’s been a lot of talk about slowing economic growth and the falling yuan keeping Chinese from travelling abroad. Just as this hasn’t really affected consumer spending, international travel will be strong this Spring Festival as well. China’s richest people like Jack Ma and Wang Jianlin think so too, based on the billions they’re investing in the tourism segment.
The falling Yuan against the US Dollar is likely to have more on an impact on where Chinese go, rather than whether they go. The Yuan has stayed strong against the Aussie and Kiwi Dollars, which are ideal to visit at this time of the year. And at a time when Chinese are earning more, their currency is also stronger than it was a year ago against the Thai Bhat and Indonesian Rupiah to name a few.
Like always, Chinese travellers will do a lot of research before shopping, and be as shrewd as ever, but they’ll still be spending up a storm abroad, ensuring they retain their title as the world’s biggest spending tourists.
No mention of Chinese New Year would be worthy without covering the blunders that foreign brands make trying to appeal to Chinese consumers during their busiest shopping season. There was no shortage this year, with the biggest faux pas going to Nike.