Chinese tourists spend most in US

By CHEN WEIHUA in Washington | | Updated: 2017-08-12 03:25

Chinese tourists spent more in the United States in 2016 than tourists from other countries, according to a report from the US Commerce Department on Friday.

The report shows that 2.97 million Chinese tourists traveled to the US in 2016, spending a total of $33 billion. The figures are up 15 percent and 9 percent, respectively, from 2015.

The 2.97 million Chinese tourists to the US in 2016 was described in the report as "nothing short of explosive". The US has enjoyed 13 consecutive years of growth in arrivals from China, 12 of which exhibited double-digit growth rates.

While the number of Chinese tourists increased, overall visitor arrivals in the US decreased 2 percent in 2016 from 2015 and visitor spending dropped by 1 percent. The report described it as the first decline in visitors since 2009 and said preliminary data for 2017 indicate an uptick in visitors.

The report put China on top of visitor spending, followed by Canada, Mexico, Japan, the UK, India, Brazil, Australia, South Korea and Germany. But Chinese visitor arrivals ranked fifth, trailing Canada, Mexico, UK and Japan.

China only ranked seventh in terms of total tourism-related spending in the US a decade ago. After nearly a decade of double-digit growth, averaging 24 percent a year since 2004, China dominates the rankings as the No 1 market for US tourism exports, injecting more than $90 million a day into the US economy.

Travel and tourism exports account for 61 percent of all US services exports to China, according to the report, compiled by the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) under the International Trade Administration of the Commerce department.

Travel and tourism was the largest services export for the US in 2016, accounting for 33 percent of services exports and 11 percent of exports overall. In all, 75.6 million international visitors came to the US in 2016 for business, medical, education and leisure purposes, spending a collective $244.7 billion across the US.

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