Knock on effects of the lunar new year…

Big trading before the holiday: SAIC Motor Corp. and Great Wall Motor Co. led automakers higher after the nation’s passenger-vehicle sales exceeded estimates last month. Department-store operator Dashang Group Co. jumped 7.6 percent on speculation consumer spending will expand during the Lunar New Year holiday. –Bloomberg

Huge increase in international travel: The Wall Street Journal says South Korea is expecting a 25% increase in Chinese tourists next week, compared to the 2012 lunar New Year… Thailand’s Tourism Authority says it expects more than 2.6 million domestic and foreign tourists moving around the country during the holiday, generating nearly $3.75 billion U.S. dollars in spending… Macau’s gambling casinos — the world’s largest gambling hub — are bracing for a rush of tourists hoping to cash in on their New Year’s luck. Bloomberg reports 17 major casinos there are sold out ahead of the holiday. And an analyst says the surge may boost monthly casino revenue in Macao by 15%, compared to last year’s New Year’s festivities… Las Vegas is also rolling out the red carpet for Chinese New Year revelers. A 2011 Las Vegas visitor profile study said about 3% of the city’s 39 million annual visitors — or more than 1 million people — are Asian or Asian-American. And organizers say leisure travel to Sin City during the New Year has become very popular with China’s growing middle class. -Morning Whistle

35c737dfbAnd duty free spending: Despite making up less than one percent of the total travelers who pass through Heathrow, mainland Chinese currently account for around 25 percent of overall luxury spending at the airport, a statistic that has given retailers there even greater impetus to target this big-spending demographic in the run-up to Chinese New Year. In addition to printing Chinese-language maps of the airport’s retailers, Heathrow is also following the lead of Dubai duty-free retailers in beefing up its Mandarin-speaking service staff.Jing Daily

With even more International movement to come: 2013 marks the year of the snake, and according to Chinese zodiac and Paul Ng, a philosopher and geomancer, Feb. 10 means the start of a boom time in the travel industry. “This year is favourable to [travel by water] because it’s the [year of the] water snake. I’ve said that cruise boats will do well this year and the aviation industry will do well as well,” Ng told HuffPost Canada Travel, adding with a laugh, “they will make a lot of money this year.” –Huffington Post