In China, the festival also results in the largest annual migration of people in the world. During what is known as chunyun, a 40-day travel season, nearly 3 billion trips are expected to be made using public transport between Feb. 1 and March 12, according to China's Ministry of Transport.
Many of those trips are made by city dwellers heading home, but many also take the time to go elsewhere, with top destinations being Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Domestic travel spending last year rose 15.9 percent from 2016, with 344 million domestic tourists spending 423.3 billion yuan ($61.5 billion), according to China's National Tourism Administration.
Increasingly affluent Chinese are also looking to travel abroad. Last year, 6.15 million Chinese travelers took international trips, a 7 percent increase from 2016, with overseas spending estimated to amount to about 100 billion yuan (nearly $16 billion).
The number is expected to grow again this year. Last week, a report from the China Tourism Academy and Ctrip said they expected the number of outbound Chinese travelers this year to reach a new record of 6.5 million.
These vacationers are expected to spend an average of about 9,500 yuan (about $1,500) and are looking to popular destinations such as Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.
CIMB private banking economist Song Seng Wun said Chinese New Year always brings a "short-term lift for consumption for Chinese communities around the world from Beijing, Jakarta, London, Los Angeles, to Singapore."
He added that, in Singapore, some indicators of Chinese New Year spending that give him signals for the health of the economy are the demand for gift baskets and hampers and the queues for bakkwa – a sweet barbecued pork jerky in Singapore which sells for about $38 (S$50) per kilogram, and gets more expensive the closer it gets to the actual holiday.
"And since more and more Chinese are taking their long holiday breaks outside of China, I'll be watching out for how busy our Merlion will be over this Chinese New Year period," he said.