two-hundred-forty Chinese tourists visited Washington, D.C. in June as part of
leisure group tour facilitated by a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the
United States and China. The M-O-U, signed in December 2007, allows the U.S.
and Chinese travel and tourism businesses to create and sell group leisure
tours to Chinese travelers. It also opens China’s market to U.S. travel and
tourism industries for the first time.
group was led by Shao Qiwei, chairman of the China National Tourism
Administration. “I feel warmly welcomed here,” said Mrs. Peng, one of the
Chinese visitors. “I would bring back these good memories and advise my friends
to visit America,” she said, after a four-day visit to Washington, D.C. “It is
a pleasure to welcome the first Chinese Group Leisure Travelers to the United
States,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. “Through a
cooperative agreement with the China National Tourism Administration, new
groups of Chinese tourists will come to discover America’s wonders and take
advantage of our world class American products and services,” he said.
Gutierrez noted that “increased visitation from Chinese tourists will
strengthen cultural and economic ties between our nations and greatly benefit
U.S. travel and tourism industries, which last year employed eight-million-five-hundred-thousand Americans and achieved a travel trade
surplus of more than seventeen-billion dollars.”
number of visitors from China to the United States has increased steadily,
doubling over the past ten years to three-hundred-ninety-seven-thousand in
2007. That number is forecasted to double again to seven-hundred-fifty-five-thousand by 2017. On average, Chinese citizens spend
more money during their stay than visitors from other countries. Last year,
total Chinese spending in the U.S. exceeded two and a half-billion dollars.
international visitors that traveled to the United States set a record at
fifty-six million, an increase of ten percent over 2006, and also spent a
record one-hundred-twenty-two billion-two-hundred-million dollars while in the
hopes that many more Chinese will discover America in the years to come.