Lunar New Year means family celebrations and sweeping away the old ready to usher in the new – it’s also a hugely popular time for travel, with Bangkok emerging as the number one getaway spot for travellers in Asia-Pacific during this year’s holiday period.

Based on hotel bookings, according to Agoda, the online booking platform, the Thai capital has reclaimed its previous spring festival top spot. Last year it lost out to Tokyo, the Jakarta Post reported, which slips to second place this year, followed by Taipei.

A staggering three billion people are expected to make trips by car, train and plane during the 40-day period between January 21 and March 1, the Jakarta Post noted, up 0.6% on last year.

More generally, people in the region appear to be travelling more than ever, and are prepared to spend more in the process, despite pervading economic uncertainty.

Chinese tourists’ enthusiasm for all things American seems to be undiminished by the two countries’ trade spat, and the row surrounding security fears over Huawei, the South China Morning Post reported. The US is still the number one favourite long-haul destination during Lunar New Year, according to travel company Ctrip, which says it accounts for around 60% of online bookings in China.

Ctrip’s recent ‘2019 New Year Travel Report’ predicted that over 400 million Chinese would be on the move this Lunar New Year, up from 386 million last year. And about seven million of those were expected to opt for overseas trips, a rise from around 6.5 million in 2018.

It also noted that more travellers are ready to splash out on their trips, and are also increasingly intrepid, with nearly half of those booking (48%) choosing non-group tours and opting instead for individual trips, tailored trips, or private group tours, sometimes for just two people.

A “more personalized way of travel” is becoming increasingly popular, said Ctrip, and it’s something consumers are prepared to pay for, with private group tours, for example, costing around 23% more than that of regular group tours. And premium-travel category bookings, it added, had more than doubled on last year’s Lunar holiday.

Meanwhile, the tourist trade in the UK is hoping a surge in visitors from China – up 24% on last year’s New Year – will continue, with tourists attracted by low prices due to the country’s weak currency, driven down by Brexit uncertainty.

Sourced from Jakarta Post, South China Morning Post; additional content by WARC staff