BootsnAll Travel Network

Are you ready for Chinese tourists, US travel agents?

Last December, China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) added the United State into the official tourism destination list reported by XinhuaNet. Early this month, CNTA head Qiwei Shao (邵琪伟) and U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez announced that Chinese citizens will be able to travel to US in tours from June. 17 2008. Travel agents from Beijing (北京), Tianjin (天津), Shanghai (上海), Jiangsu(江苏), Zhejiang(浙江), Hunan(湖南), Hubei(湖北), Heibei(河北) and Guangdong(广东) are in the first list that eligible to send tours to the States. These tours will be the “legitimated” tourists for the first time. Before U.S. become a travel destination, most of the tourists applied for business visa (B1 or B2) to get into the States.

According to data of US commerce department, there were more than 320,000 leisure visitors to US in 2006. These visitors were said to “have spent trememdous amount of money in US”. Let’s do an easy math problem: suppose the number of visitor to US increases by 25% compared to 2006, it will be 400,000 in 2008. According to travel agent, the average cost for a typical tour package per person is 25,000 RMB (apprx. $3, 570 USD). If eachvisitor spends 1,000 USD in the States besides the “all-inclusive” tour cost in shopping or casino, the Chinese visitor will spend total 1.8 billion in the States this year.

But I have to say the estimation of “1,000 USD for shopping” is very very conservative. Last year, Chinese spent $8 billion on luxury goods last year, accounting for 18% of the world’s total, the World Luxury Association says. Russell Flannery from Forbes didn’t say how much this 8 billion USD was spend outside of China where brand luxury goods are relative cheaper oversea.

Although 2 billion USD seems not like a big pie in the 90+ billion online travel industry, when you see the number by travel destinations by city, it is something. According to GNS Travel & Tour, a travel agent that is running tours for Chinese visitor in US, most of the visitors are going to visit East Coast: New York, Washington D.C. , Philidelpihia, West Coast: San Francisco, Los Angeles (things to do), Las Vegas (things to do), and islands of Hawaii (Honolulu Things to Do). It is estimated that by 2011, over 580,000 Chinese tourists will visit US annually.

But in 2006, there are already 1.9 million Chinese visited Europ. The most popular country is England in Chinese visitor. The most popular travel information website Go2EU in Chinese provides practical travel tips and guides such as how to get a visa, how to book hotels in London, what are the attractions for independent travelers. The most popular tags are “Rome” and “Paris” for cities and “Italy”, “England”, “Gemany”, “France” for countries. US is less popular than “Span”. The everage cost for a Europe tour is 1,500-2,000 USD per person. The bottleneck of China outbound travel to US is visa application which involves a long lead time interview appointment and high reject rate. But there are good enough of number of Chinese want to see US regardless of the complicated procedure.

So US travel agents, are you ready for Chinese visitors?

Data from the post are from this report in Chinese


An image of Jiuzhaigou I took last Oct. Hope this “heaven on earth” can be accessed again soon!


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2 responses to “Are you ready for Chinese tourists, US travel agents?”

  1. Kudzu Fire says:

    what a gorgeous photo. the colors are unreal

  2. […] Are you ready for Chinese tourists, US travel agents? […]

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