China expecting flood of citizens to head to United States
Thursday 14 October 2010
China's rapid growth in the international tourism world has been re-confirmed this week with predictions that more than two million Chinese tourists are expected to visit the United States by 2015 - and three million American tourists will visit China in the same time.
Those numbers were revealed this week at a meeting held between members of China's tourism industry and its governing National Tourism Administration with reports that visitors to the US from China had already jumped 33 percent this year - to 730,000 - while 1.33 million Americans had gone the other way.
Hong Kong remains the top destination for Chinese, with around 18 million visitors a year, followed by Macao (15 million), and then Japan (1.5 million) - with the US rapidly closing in. As far as Americans traveling abroad goes, the top destinations remain Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom - according to the most recent Forbes Traveller, with China ranked ninth on the list.
"China and the United States share broad prospects of tourism development as both countries have become major sources of toursits for one another,'' Shao Qiwei, head of the NTA, told the meeting, held in the northern city of Nanjing.The meeting ended Tuesday.
Major events such as the ongoing Shanghai World Expo ( http://en.expo2010.cn/) and Novemeber's Asian Games ( http://www.gz2010.cn/en), which will be held in the southern city of Guangzhou, are expected to help boost visits to China, while the country's rising Gross Domestic Product has meant more and more Chinese have the means to travel overseas.
And nations such as the United States are certainly happy they are doing so. Chinese tourists spent US$43.7 billion (32 billion euros) overseas in 2009 - and this year that figure is expected to reach US$48 billion (35 billion euros) as 54 million Chinese head overseas, according to the NTA.
Overall, the NTA expects 100 million Chinese to make international trips by 2015 - and they will spend US$100 billion (73 billion euros) when they do.
Another factor helping the trend is that China now has special tourism agreements with 140 countries, allowing freer visa access, said the NTA.
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