Will Chinese tourists 'heart' New York too?

Updated: 2014-08-08 07:27

By ELIZABETH WU in New York (China Daily USA)

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Will Chinese tourists 'heart' New York too?

Performers invited by I Love New York, New York State's tourism agency, to celebrate China Southern Airlines' inaugural flight from Guangzhou to New York, perform at JFK International Airport on the morning of Aug 6. [Provided to China Daily]

It's no secret that investment by Chinese businesses in New York has helped both Chinese and US businesses flourish. Now China Southern Airlines and "I Love New York" - New York State's tourism agency - have partnered up to promote global tourism in New York State. And it should be another shot in the arm for New York's economy.

Around 1.8 million tourists from China visited the US last year. With an average spending of $3,297 per tourist per trip, they contributed $877 million to New York City's economy alone, according to Attract China, a marketing company that helps businesses in the US establish an online presence to lure visitors from China.

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Aug 6 that China Southern Airlines and "I Love New York" were launching a partnership to promote New York State for global tourism and business. The partnership is in support of the Governor's Global Tourism initiative.

The promotion officially got underway with China Southern Airlines celebrating its inaugural direct flight from Guangzhou to JFK International Airport, the airlines' first ever direct service to the US' East Coast.

"Collaborating with Asia's largest airline will make everything that we have to offer more accessible to China's bustling market, quite literally providing a gateway to the iconic Empire State," Cuomo said.

"New York is experiencing record levels of tourism in both New York City and Upstate New York, and our administration will continue to foster this surge so that spending by visitors and investment by businesses can continue to grow local economies," the governor added.

The partnership includes training key China Southern Airlines sales staff on New York State tourism highlights, enabling tour operators to offer New York State vacation travel options and collaborating on public relations efforts to promote New York.

China Southern Airlines Chairman Si Xianmin said: "We are thrilled to launch our direct route to New York City and partner with the governor in his initiative to promote Chinese tourism in New York, a state not only boasting epic skyscrapers but also one endowed with natural beauty and resources and one that harbors a culturally diverse and friendly people."

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams said: "This new marketing partnership with China Southern Airlines furthers our efforts to promote tourism across the state. There is so much to see and do in New York and we look forward to welcoming visitors from China to experience all of New York State's rich history and culture."

"China Southern Airlines and New York State have goal in common, and that is to get more people to come to New York," said Gavin Landry, New York's executive director of tourism.

China Southern Airlines, the third-largest air carrier in the world, now has four direct flights a week from Guangzhou to New York. "China itself is a source market for global tourism," said Landry, noting that it is on the top five list of countries with the most visitors to New York State.

"As the Chinese economy flourishes, there is a growing demand for travel," said Landry.

Landry said the number of Chinese visitors coming to New York has been growing. "A million Chinese are already living in the New York City area, the Chinese diaspora provides a great opportunity for tourism as well. People have their relatives and family visiting," said Landry.

Before the announcement of their partnership with China Southern Airlines, NY's tourist board offered "Becoming China Ready" workshops to service the Chinese tourism market. The workshops in Albany, Utica, and Rochester were well-attended by the private sector, government agencies, and tourism and hospitality organizations learning how to understand and promote themselves to the Chinese market.

Earlier this year, "I Love New York" established offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu.

"I think more Chinese visitors will be a tremendous help to the economy," said Charles Mon, vice-president of Sino-American Tours based in Manhattan. "More tourists from China will also benefit the cruise industry."

Contact the writer at readers@chinadaily.com.cn

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