US cities make pitch to high-spending Chinese, Brazilian tourists

Updated: 2015-03-30 02:58

By AMY HE in New York(China Daily Latin America)

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New York City hopes to reach 67 million annual visitors by 2021, and a big part of the plan is attracting big spenders from places like China and Brazil.

Of that 67 million goal, New York expects 16 million will come from international markets, and 51 million stateside. Based on city figures, 965,000 tourists came from Brazil, and 809,000 from China last year, which ranked numbers 2 and 3 in international tourism to the city.

US cities make pitch to high-spending Chinese, Brazilian tourists

An informal survey by China Daily of major US tourist cities finds that the Brazilians and Chinese are substantially increasing their visits.

Only a few years ago, Brazil and China were not ranked in the top three international markets for New York, but have overtaken European markets such as France, Germany, and Italy.

"The Brazil market, they don't mind the novelty of being in the snow and being in the cold, so they don't mind coming in those winter weather months, which is exactly the time of year we want to fill the gap and create more demand during the first quarter," said Christopher Heywood, spokesman for NYC & Company, the city's official tourism bureau.

New York expects 1 million visitors from China by the end of 2018, Heywood said.

Las Vegas is seeing a steady increase of travelers from Brazil and China, which along with Australia, have been major growth markets for the gambling capital, despite not having direct flights to any of the three countries.

"Our market share and growth has been very good, and our growth in Las Vegas over the last three years has been slightly higher than the growth to the US from China, so we feel very comfortable about that," said Rafael Villanueva, senior director of international sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Las Vegas welcomed 300,000 visitors from China in 2013, up from 263,000 in 2012, and 187,000 from Brazil in 2013, up from 161,000.

"One great thing about the Brazilians is that they're here for everything we have," Villanueva said. "They're the ones that want to shop like crazy; they want to go see the shows and entertainment. They love to come to Las Vegas because it also fits into the mix where they can go have dinner at 9 or 10 at night, which they can't do in other places, and that's the time when they have dinner back home. They're here to hit the nightclubs, no matter what age."

For Miami, Brazil makes up the largest international tourist source. Nearly 800,000 Brazilians visited Miami in 2014, and from 2011 to 2014, Miami saw 15.5 percent growth from Brazil. The city is the US destination for 38 percent of Brazilian tourists.

"Many of them come for shopping," according to Gisela Marti, vice-president of marketing and tourism at the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Things are so expensive in Brazil. They also love our attractions and sightseeing. They also enjoy the ambiance; there's a very international ambiance in Miami. There's a large Brazilian community in Miami, so there's a large sense of feeling at home also."