China, US act to bolster tourism

Updated: 2014-10-30 05:26

By XIAO LIXIN in Beijing(China Daily USA)

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China, US act to bolster tourism

Shao Qiwei, director of the China National Tourism Administration, and Chris Thompson, president and CEO of Brand USA, attend the eighth China-US Tourism Leadership Summit, in Xiamen, Fujian province, on Tuesday. HU MEIDONG / CHINA DAILY

Tourism between China and the United States is growing, and business groups in the two countries wants to push travel figures higher.

The eighth China-US Tourism Leadership Summit, co-organized by the China National Tourism Administration (NTA) and Brand USA, was held in Xiamen, Fujian province Tuesday. The aim was to increase tourism cooperation and raise to 5 million the number of tourists between the two countries.

"The US will cooperate with China to increase the number of direct flights and make the visa process more convenient, to help more people travel between the two countries," said Roger Dow, president of the US Travel Association.

The US was the sixth-favorite destination of Chinese tourists in 2013, behind Hong Kong, Macao, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan. A total of 1.97 million Chinese visited the US, up 14.2 percent year-on-year, according to NTA statistics. The US has been voted the third most satisfactory destination for Chinese outbound tourists, according to a survey conducted by the China Tourism Academy.

"I believe the figure will reach 20 million in 2020," Shao Qiwei, director of the NTA, said at the summit.

According to the US Department of Commerce, the Chinese market ranks seventh in visitors and sixth in consumption.

Chinese tourists spent $9.8 billion in the US last year, an average of $5,414 apiece. Travelers from the US spent $6.3 billion in China, an average of $3,036, according to Shao.

Statistics from the World Tourism Organization showed that China was the world's top source of outbound travel: 98.19 million Chinese traveled overseas, an annual increase of 18 percent.

China welcomed slightly more than 129 million tourists in 2013, a year-on-year decline of 2.51 percent, according to a report released by China Tourism Academy early this month. The country's inbound tourism market has been experiencing a downward trend since the first quarter of 2012 on both a quarterly and annual basis.

To attract more overseas travelers, travel agencies and tourism authorities in China and the US have been busy at promotion.

Elong, one of China's largest online travel agencies, has worked with Expedia, the world's largest online travel agency, on a series of online, inbound tourist-focused marketing campaigns, mainly aimed at visitors from the US, UK and Australia.

The Nevada Commission on Tourism, the first official US tourism office in China, plans to offer tours jointly with United Airlines this month. The trips will cover the famous scenic spots in the state and lesser-known destinations.