Close to 3 million Chinese tourists visited the U.S. last year. And they spent an estimated average of USD 6,700 per person per trip — exceeding the average spending of international tourists by more than 50%, according to the US Travel Association.
The number of visitors from China dropped nearly 4% in the first half of this year after a nearly 6% drop in 2018. More broadly, the U.S. share of the global travel market has slipped in the past year, and travel and hospitality groups blame the trade conflicts and intensified competition from rival countries.
Tourism is one of the few industries where the U.S. has enjoyed a substantial advantage over China. In 2018, Chinese tourists traveling to the U.S. spent USD 30 billion more than American tourists visiting China did. Yet that edge may be shrinking.
Visa approvals for Chinese visitors have meanwhile become more difficult. The rejection rate for Chinese tourist visa applications to the U.S. reached 17% in the 2018 fiscal year from a low of 8.5% in 2013.
In the meantime, some U.S. competitors may gain an edge. The European Travel Commission, which says Europe welcomed 14 million Chinese last year, has joined with its Chinese counterparts at travel shows and partnered with Chinese celebrities to share videos and social media posts involving Europe.
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