Travel Industry Association (TIA) President and CEO Roger Dow and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez recently welcomed China National Tourism Administration Chairman Shao Qiwei and the first tour group from China to the United States under a bilateral travel agreement signed in December 2007.
Under the new agreement, Chinese travel to the United States—where the average visitor spends approximately $6,000 per trip—is expected to skyrocket.
Despite the weak dollar and a boom in worldwide international travel, two million fewer overseas travelers visited the United States in 2007 than in 2000. The decline has cost America nearly $140 billion in visitor spending, $22 billion in lost tax receipts and 230,000 lost jobs. Studies show that international travelers who have visited the United States are 74 percent more likely to have a favorable opinion of the country than those who have not.
The arrival of the inaugural Chinese tour group was celebrated at a gala reception at the Southwest Waterfront in Washington D.C. hosted by TIA's Dow and the National Tour Association's Chairman and CEO Bob Hoelscher and President Lisa Simon.
In March, TIA released a new report, "Emerging International Travel Markets: China," an in-depth profile of China's society, economy and long-haul travel market. The report was developed in partnership with The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Travel and Tourism Center at the University of South Carolina and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The report shows that the United States is one of the most common countries visited by mainland Chinese long-haul travelers and is also the most frequently cited dream destination for Chinese citizens.
For more information about the economic impact of travel, visit PowerofTravel.org.