South Florida officials hope to lure Chinese visitors


FORT LAUDERDALE – South Florida tourism officials are courting Chinese travel agents and writers in the hopes of encouraging visitors from that country to stay in local hotels, dine in restaurants and spend their vacation dollars here.

Officials from Broward and Palm Beach counties have coordinated with the state’s tourism agency Visit Florida to provide Chinese delegations with information about Florida.

They hope to lure conventions and trade shows from China to the Sunshine State.

A group of Chinese travel writers recently visited Fort Lauderdale and were shuttled on water taxis and taken to the area’s finest restaurants.

And it appears many were left with a good impression, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

“If I had a lot of money, I could live there. I’d feel like a movie star,” said Grace Zhong, an editor at Voyage, a travel magazine.

Nearly 556,000 Chinese visitors are expected to travel to the United States this year. The World Tourism Organization estimates that by 2020 said China will be the fourth-highest source of tourists behind Germany, Japan and the United States.