California: Chinese tourism to grow 18 percent


BEIJING, China – A delegation of California’s travel industry representing major destinations and attractions will travel to Beijing and Shanghai in October to promote tourism, according to California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC).

After the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan, China has become the fourth-largest source of international tourists for California.

In 2010, the number of Chinese visitors to California grew by 49 percent year-on-year to 399,000 and they spent $648 million in the Golden State.

CTTC forecasts the number of Chinese visitors from China to California will increase 18 percent this year.

Shannon Brooks, international public relations manager of the CTTC said 51 percent of Chinese tourists to the US had visited California in 2010, giving the state a phenomenal market share in China.

“As the number of Chinese visitors has increased, the travel industry in California has become more familiar with the preference of Chinese travelers and we can customize services to cater to their needs,” Brooks said.

California has 81 direct non-stop flights per week to and from China, with 10 percent of growth last year. Over the past four years, travel-related businesses across the state have invested close to $10 billion to innovate and enhance their products and facilities.

Tourism is California’s largest export industry by revenue. International visitors spent $17 billion in the state last year, which accounted for more revenue than the state’s top four products exports combined – aircraft, non-industrial diamonds, computer parts, image and data equipment.

Jiang Yiyi, head of International Tourism Development Institute of China’s National Tourism Administration, said the arrival of Chinese tourists will significantly contribute the economy of California.

“More than 90 percent of Chinese tourists spent quite a lot of time on shopping and stay for an average 14 days each individual in the US last year,” she said.

“The appreciation of the yuan, the purpose of diversifying the life styles, the raising number of China’s middle class and pressure of work in modern society have all raised Chinese tourist number and consumption in the US.”

Major tourist destinations across the US have seen surging numbers of Chinese visitors in recent years. In 2010 alone, the total number of Chinese tourists visited the US reached 1.2 million, about 30 percent higher than 2009, according to the figures provided by China Tourism Academy.