Reporter Journal / William Hennelly

Los Angeles still a top destination for tourists even as China's economy slows

By William Hennelly (China Daily USA) Updated: 2015-09-10 13:33

In 2014, Los Angeles witnessed a 20 percent increase in tourists from China over 2013, welcoming nearly 700,000 Chinese visitors.

The board's 2015 research statistics forecast that Chinese visitation will experience double-digit growth for at least the next three years.

In February 2014, L.A. Tourism launched "NiHao China", which it described as "a portfolio of international marketing, training and promotional initiatives to enhance the LA experience of Chinese travelers and grow LA's market share of Chinese visitation".

Over in China, one consequence of, say, smaller stock portfolios, may be that more people travel domestically, says Dai Bin, head of the China Tourism Academy of the CNTA.

"If the yuan depreciates (any further), the scale of outbound tourism in China will shrink while inbound tourism will rise," he said.

But Dai doesn't believe the yuan's exchange rate will affect outbound tourism in the short term. Tourists usually book several months in advance and won't back out because of a rate adjustment, he said.

It would take subsequent depreciations to have a substantial impact, he said.

About 107 million Chinese traveled abroad last year, according to the academy's China Outbound Tourism Development Report published last month. China has been the top source of outbound tourists worldwide the past three years.

"That represents 18 percent year-on-year growth, and we expect it to be 16 percent this year," Dai said.

About 40 percent of outbound Chinese tourists spend more than 15,000 yuan ($2,350) on average during their trips, and shopping (particularly in L.A.) is the primary spending activity.

Chinese tourists spent $164.8 billion in 2014-a fourfold increase compared with 2008, the Xinhua News Agency reported. About 88 percent of that was on shopping, the academy said.

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