Chinese tourists flock to US for Golden Week

Updated: 2014-10-07 13:10

By Lian Zi in San Francisco(China Daily USA)

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National Day revelers in China are bringing good cheer - and plenty of yuan - to foreign tourist destinations.

October 1 is China's National Day holiday, and this year marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. It is called Golden Week because the semiannual, seven-day national holiday sees millions of mainlanders set off on overseas trips that bring huge profits for tourism hotspots.

The US has always been one of the most popular tourist destinations for Chinese.

Flights between Los Angeles and large cities in China were almost fully booked on Oct 5, even for Airbus A380 super jumbo jets, said Lu Weixi, general manager of China Southern Airlines (North Americas).

During the week, the number of Chinese visitors who booked on Usitrip soared 35% over the same period last month, said Andy Zhang, representative of the Los Angeles- based Chinese travel agency.

"We created promotional tour packages to attract Chinese tourists, including local guides and drivers," Zhang told China Daily, adding that Los Angeles and New York remain the most popular destinations.

"About 60 percent of our Chinese customers chose the Los Angeles line during the national holiday," said Zhang, who believes that the famous theme parks and pleasant weather in Southern California were the main attractions, especially after Yellowstone National Park was closed this season.

Other groups of visitors were attracted by the shopping tours in eastern cities. Large numbers of Chinese travelers shop for luxury goods in the US, spending about $2,500 on average per trip. Some estimates show that they spend even more when visiting New York City, said Zhang.

In response to the increase in holiday spending, large retailers in the US have ramped up efforts to attract Chinese customers with special offers and heavy promotions on clothing, shoes and jewelry, Zhang said.

Zhang estimated that traffic to outlet malls increased 50 percent during Golden Week.

The Kiehl's store at Westfield Valley Fair mall in San Jose hired a sales representative who speaks Mandarin and caters to Chinese clients.

Also, the store put up a sign in Chinese on the front door that translated read "celebrate China's national holiday and get 4 complimentary luxury samples with a purchase over $75".

The sales representative, who didn't want to disclose her name, told China Daily that she was asked by her manager to write the sign.

"It attracted lots of Chinese customers to come into the store or take pictures of the sign," she said. "I could tell that many of them are tourists from China."

In 2013, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the US totaled 1.9 million, which is projected to rise to 2.3 million by the end of 2014, according to Zhang.

 Chinese tourists flock to US for Golden Week

A Chinese customer looks at a sign written in Chinese in a store window at Westfield Valley Fair mall in San Jose, California on Monday. The sign reads "Celebrating China National Day: Get four deluxe samples with $75 purchase". Lian Zi / China Daily

(China Daily USA 10/07/2014 page2)