Travelers from China are seeking alternative destinations amid the trade war with the United States, as travel industry insiders keep a close eye on the decline in the number of those visitors.
China is the third-largest source of overseas travel to the US, producing 3.2 million visitors in 2017 and accounting for 8.2 percent of all overseas travel to the country, according to the US Travel Association.
Travel is the top US industry export to China, generating a $29.8 billion trade surplus with the country in 2017 and accounting for 19 percent of all exports. In addition, Chinese tourists spend an average of $6,700 per trip, about 50 percent more than the average for international visitors.
Chinese travel to the US fell by 5.7 percent last year to 2.9 million visitors, the first fall in 15 years, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office.
US Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow cited US Department of Commerce figures showing that international travel to the country grew by just 3.5 percent last year.
According to the association, the US' share of the global travel market dropped from 13.7 percent in 2015 to 11.7 percent last year.
Research company Tourism Economics reported that the US overseas market grew by only 2 percent last year. "This tepid performance is somewhat more concerning as visits to the US slowed in the second half of 2018, with notable weakness for Germany and key Asian markets－particularly China, South Korea and Japan," the company said.
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