US Hosting Increasing Numbers of Chinese Tourists

Posted April 23rd, 2012 at 7:10 am (UTC-5)
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An increasing number of Chinese tourists are visiting the United States, pleasing many American businesses in tough economic times.

The number of U.S. tourist visas issued to Chinese has risen dramatically, from 203,000 travelers in 2004 to the latest number available, which is 1.1 million. That puts China ninth on the list of countries of origin for U.S. tourism.

Ron Erdmann, deputy director of the U.S. Commerce Department's Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, told VOA the Chinese tourists are giving a boost to the U.S. economy.

“The Chinese who come here spend a great deal of money. That too has been setting records over the last several years. In 2011, they spent $5.7 billion to get to this country. So the money they spend for their airfares, and the money that they spend while they're in the U.S.A. buying U.S. goods and services whether it's attractions, restaurants, or the products they buy for gifts and souvenirs, or even things that they will take home, coming here and buying electronics, anything they purchase while they're here. It has a major impact on the United States in terms of dollar value.”

Erdmann said Chinese tourism also benefits the people of both countries culturally.

“And then, just as a cultural understanding that comes between our countries, when we see increasing numbers of Chinese coming to this country, the understanding that they get of the United States when they go back home of our people, and then the people that they meet here, understanding a little bit more about the Chinese.”

Erdmann said the growth in tourism from China is also boosting the sector of the U.S. travel industry that specializes in providing services to Chinese visitors. He said the U.S. government, for its part, is working to make sure that most visa applicants are approved promptly.