Save the Date
From Chinese New Year to Diwali, these international holidays motivate travelers to vacation abroad.
It’s well established that U.S. public holidays such as Memorial Day and Labor Day are major vacation drivers. More than 38 million people were expected to travel for Memorial Day weekend alone last year, according to AAA’s Memorial Day Travel Forecast. To tap into foreign markets, consider similar holidays in other countries, during which bookings abroad regularly surge. For instance, Ctrip, a Chinese travel agency, predicted in their 2017 Spring Festival Tourism Big Data Report that more than six million Chinese travelers would vacation overseas during Chinese New Year this year. Below are four more holidays of interest.
Semana Santa (April 9–15, 2017)
Semana Santa (Holy Week) is a two-week-long festival leading up to Easter, during which most schools and businesses in Latin America close. According to the first 2017 issue of Global Travel Insights by travel marketing company Sojern, Latin Americans searched primarily for departure dates on April 1, 7 and 8 (Easter falls on April 16 this year) and top destinations included Miami for a beach getaway, New York City for a metropolitan vacation and Madrid for sightseeing. Andrés Franklin, commercial director of Latin America at Sojern, recommends quoting room rates in the travelers’ currency and offering incentives: “Any variation on discounts resonates better with Latin American travelers than free Wi-Fi and additional features.”
Golden Week (April 29–May 5, 2017)
Comprising four national holidays that fall within seven days of each other, Golden Week is one of Japan’s three busiest holiday periods (the other two are the Lunar New Year and Obon, a Buddhist festival). Last year the Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) forecast that 546,000 Japanese would travel abroad for Golden Week. Family-friendly Hawaiian resorts may especially want to take note—JTB also found that Hawaii is a preferred destination for family travelers.
May Day (May 1, 2017)
Many people celebrate May Day (the equivalent to Labor Day in China) by taking the week off. “Most Chinese people spend holidays with their families, especially those with young kids,” says Charlie Li, China director at Brand USA. To attract travelers, Li recommends offering family-friendly specials, drafting a welcome letter in Chinese and working with online travel agents or overseas tour operators to gain exposure.
Diwali (October 19–23, 2017)
The largest celebration in India, Diwali (Festival of Lights) spans five days and commemorates the victory of good over evil. Schools and companies typically grant the most days off during this period, leading to one of the biggest surges in travel abroad for Indians. According to an October 2016 survey by Yatra, an Indian travel agency, 30.6 percent of Indians considered traveling internationally during the holiday. Resorts running promotions may want to start more than two weeks before the holiday, as 68 percent of travelers booked more than 15 days in advance.
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