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2023 Full-Year Weibo Rankings Report

Take a look at the most popular Weibo posts of 2023 by international travel brands, and find out the latest marketing trends on Weibo.

Dragon Trail International’s Weibo Rankings Report tracks and analyzes performance for national tourism organizations (NTOs), destination marketing organizations (DMOs), airlines, cruise lines, museums & attractions, and hotels. The annual Weibo report builds industry benchmarks and uncovers best practices in digital marketing in the travel sector.

2023 saw some post-pandemic recovery for engagement with international travel brands on Weibo compared to the previous year, with especially significant increases in the attractions and hotels categories. Significant post engagement was largely driven by celebrity-related content, as well as the popularity of Hong Kong Disneyland. As in past years, negative responses to posts and/or a brand’s actions off of Weibo can also lead to high engagement.

Weibo Engagement

We calculate engagement rate on a weekly basis, by dividing the total number of engagements (likes, reposts, and comments) an account receives for its content posted that week, by the number of followers the account has that week.

For the year 2023, apart from the DMO category, all types of travel brands exhibited an increase in both the total number of engagements and the engagement rate compared to 2022. The only exception was cruise lines, where the engagement rate remained unchanged. Most categories showed minor fluctuations in the percentage change in engagement rates, with hotels experiencing the most significant increase of 467% from 2022 to 2023. Additionally, there was a notable rise for Museums & Attractions (excluding Hong Kong Disneyland), with an increase of 42%.


The Tourism Authority of Thailand-Shanghai Office increased its total number of engagements by 50.64% in 2023, becoming the top-ranked NTO by engagements, up from third place to first place. The account also increased its posting frequency by 38.72%. Notably, Luo Yunxi (Leo) was named the “China-Thailand Cultural Friendship Ambassador” in November, contributing to the positive image of Thailand as a tourist destination. Posts related to Luo Yunxi garnered high engagements.

In general, celebrity-related news generated the highest engagements. For instance, the top five Weibo posts with the most likes (apart from TAT-Shanghai’s content about Luo Yunxi) were all celebrity-related content. Some of the posts included Visit Singapore’s post about Xiao Zhan attending the Ralph Lauren event at Marina Bay Sands and Atout France’s post about Xiao Zhan’s vlog in France.

Top three NTO posts featuring (from left to right) Xiao Zhan in France, Xiao Zhan in Singapore, and Luo Yunxi as the Sino-Thai Cultural Friendship Ambassador

For destinations that don’t always have celebrity-related news, photography of beautiful scenery, promotional posts about the launch of a new tour experience, and event announcements also work in attracting views and interest from followers.


The Macao Government Tourism Office and Discover Hong Kong remained the two top accounts with the most engagements, accounting for 63.35% of the category’s total engagements.

Similar to NTOs, the DMO Weibo post with the most likes in 2023 was about pop singer/idol Cai Xukun. It was a promotional post announcing a concert by Cai Xukun in Macau. The post provided details about the concert, including the date, venue, ticket prices, and show how to purchase tickets. It also highlighted Cai’s significance as the first Mandarin singer to perform at the Galaxy Theater in Macau. Other top DMO posts for the year included announcement of the opening of ticket sales for the 47th Hong Kong International Film Festival, a small poll asking people which concert they’d like to attend the most in Hong Kong, and announcement of Jackson Wang’s concert in Macau.

Top three DMO posts by Macau and Hong Kong


The engagement rates for airlines doubled in 2023 compared to the previous year. Since 2021, engagement rates for the airlines category have been steadily increasing, indicating positive development for the tourism industry.

Cathay Pacific rose to first place in the ranking, with a significant increase in engagements, largely due to addressing an incident involving discrimination on a flight from mainland China. An audio clip of the incident went viral that week, in which a crew member refused the passenger’s request for a blanket and mocked the traveler’s not fluent English. Cathay Pacific’s most popular post, which received 368,373 engagements, was an official statement addressing the incident and expressing sincere apologies to the affected passengers, while also announcing the dismissal of three cabin crew members involved in the incident. Other popular posts by Cathay Pacific were mostly published before the incident in May.

Etihad Airlines rose from 11th place in the 2022 Weibo rankings to 3rd in 2023, with close to four times as many engagements as the year before. Its most popular posts were varied, with both promotional and informational content. In July, their most popular post addressed Manchester City Football Club fans, promoting flights from China to the UK, as well as Manchester City clothing for sale. In December, a Christmas giveaway asked followers to share their travel experiences, and at the start of November, Etihad announced its move to Abu Dhabi International Airport’s new Terminal A.

Other popular content from airlines in 2023 included celebrity-related news, discounted tickets, and giveaways.

Cruise Lines

Cruise lines are less active compared to other categories. In fact, only one post by Viking Cruises received more than 100 likes during the whole year. The post highlighted a 15-day cruise trip that set sail from Shanghai to nine different cities in Japan without the need for a visa. Apart from this, Royal Caribbean International dominated the sector, generating 71% of engagements. The account constantly posted content involving news about the resumption of cruises to international destinations after three years of pandemic.

News about the resumption of cruise trips to international destinations by Royal Caribbean International

Museums & Attractions

The museums and attractions category includes one serious outlier: Hong Kong Disneyland. The account received a total of 2,583,257 engagements in 2022, which generated 97% of the category’s total engagements. Compared to previous years, although Hong Kong Disneyland consistently made it to the top 10 rankings, this year the attraction experienced a surge in engagements, primarily due to the opening of the Frozen-themed park and special events that attracted views and engagements. Nine of the top 10 most-liked posts were all from Hong Kong Disneyland. Top posts include a summer event at Hong Kong Disneyland featuring different summer-themed activities, the announcement of the opening of Frozen World on November 20, Halloween events and celebrations, themed activities to celebrate Lilo & Stitch’s 21st anniversary, and the opening of the store, My Journeys with Duffy, which boasts the most comprehensive collection of Duffy and Friends merchandise to date, as well as the debut collection of LinaBell.

(From left to right) Hong Kong Disneyland’s posts about summer-themed events, the opening of “Frozen World”, and Halloween celebrations

For museums, the post with the highest engagements came from The British Museum, though comments were mostly negative because of the controversial ‘Korean Lunar New Year’ tweet. Many netizens expressed outrage on the museum’s Weibo account over their cultural appropriation. Apart from this, museum content is mostly a combination of photos and text showcasing artworks exhibited at the museum.


Compared to other categories, hotels exhibited the most growth from 2022 to 2023. Similar to NTOs and DMOs, celebrity content generated the most engagements in 2023. Remember Xiao Zhan from Visit Singapore’s posts? He’s also the main subject of the hotel Weibo post with the most likes in 2023. Marina Bay Sands Singapore also posted about his appearance at the hotel to attend the Ralph Lauren Fragrances pop-up. Another popular post featuring Xiao Zhan announced the release of a new global advertising campaign for Gucci, which premiered at Marina Bay Sands Singapore.

(From left to right) Marina Bay Sands’ post about Xiao Zhan attending the Ralph Lauren event, Xiao Zhan’s advertising campaign being premiered at Marina Bay Sands, and Hilton’s mini reality show

Celebrities were featured in the most popular Weibo posts with the most likes, which were mostly about their appearance at the respective hotel or upcoming events that will be held at the hotel. Since many hotel brands have properties in mainland China, and Weibo is a hub for celebrity-fan interactions, this is a huge advantage for hotels to share news and updates about celebrities in order to attract engagements.

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