Chinese rank US among top three popular destinations

Updated: 2015-01-09 13:32

By Zheng Xin in Beijing(China Daily USA)

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The United States is the second most popular travel destination for Chinese vacationers, topped for the second consecutive year by closer-to-home favorite Japan, according to a survey conducted by US-based travel information website Travelzoo Inc. New Zealand secured the third spot.

At the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting held in Beijing last year, President Barack Obama announced the China-US agreement on a reciprocal 10-year visa that allows multiple entries for tourists and businessmen and gives students of both countries five-year visas. That bilateral visa agreement will result in increasing numbers of affluent Chinese willing to head to the US for vacations, said Vivian Hong, President of Travelzoo Lv You Zu, during a press release in Beijing on Jan 6.

Other popular destinations include Australia, Maldives, France and Italy, said the report.

In addition, the US was also selected the top destination for in-depth tourism by Chinese, an increasingly popular form of travel welcomed by the Chinese, followed by Australia, Japan, France, Great Britain and Switzerland. The US is also a top destination for family tours, according to the survey.

According to Hong, the visa extension has been a major boost for the popularity of the region.

Since the visa extension went into effect, many Chinese tourism agencies have come up with tours and products within the US, including Ctrip, Qunar and Travelzoo.

The convenience in travelling to the US is forecast to attract 7.3 million Chinese tourists to the US by 2021, producing an annual revenue of $85 billion and creating 440,000 jobs in the country.

Chinese tourists spend 21 percent higher than international visitors from other countries, with a total of 1.8 million travelers from China contributing $21.1 billion to the US economy in 2013, according to Brand USA.

According to Li Xinjian, a professor of tourism at Beijing International Studies University, the year-on-year growth of Chinese visitors, starting since 2007 and with the exception of 2009, has been a steady 20 percent to 35 percent, with the highest growth reaching 53 percent.

"The growth is expected to further grow," he said.

According to the survey by Travelzoo, the Chinese plan two to three long distance trips each year, with an annual budget of 37,000 yuan, and some four short distance trips every year, with the annual budget reaching 15,500 yuan.

Increasing numbers of Chinese tourists would rather spend their money on special cultural experiences and in-depth tourism products compared to shopping and dining, said Dai Bin, head of China Tourism Academy.

Some personally tailored tour products, including the helicopter trips, cruises, winery tours, and hiking in the outback has also attracted increasing Chinese tourists, who are tired of the traditional tourism spots, he said.