Spending by Chinese tourists abroad shows no sign of abating any time soon, as Chinese tourists are now the second biggest foreign tourism spenders in the U.S.
According to the 2014 International Visitation to the United States Report, released Monday by the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office, approximately 2.2 million Chinese visited the United States last year, spending $2.3 billion total, reports ECNS.
While in the country, nine out of ten Chinese visitors shopped, averaging $10,800 spent per person.
For comparison, Canadian tourists, who ranked highest in total visitors and spending, spent only $3.4 billion more than the Chinese tourists, but accounted for over 10 times more visitors. Total foreign tourism spending in the U.S. reached $220.6 billion with 74.8 million tourists overall.
The reason for the spending discrepancy is China’s “super travelers.”
The Chinese Luxury Traveler 2015 by Hurun Report and ILTM Asia found that 65 percent of China’s outbound tourists are high-net-worth “super travelers,” and their second-favorite destination for the last three years in a row has been the United States. What’s more, these “super travelers” increased their travel days from 18 to 20 days on average within the past year.
Zhang Guangrui, honorary head of the Tourism Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes China’s rising middle-class and less-stringent visa policies in some countries have boosted spending, especially in the U.S.
However, the U.S. hospitality industry may not want to raise its hopes too high just yet. Zhao Ping, a lead research at China’s Ministry of Commerce, said, “The slowing GDP growth as well as the appreciated U.S. dollar will challenge the consumption capability of Chinese tourists in the United States.” He added, “In China, certain areas are looking into building more tax-free areas, which would help Chinese to buy more tax-free products within China.”
According to the China Tourism Academy, the number of Chinese outbound tourists reached 116 million last year, a 17.8 percent increase over 2013. Spending also rose sharply over 2013, rising 18 percent to $140 billion in 2014. This year, the China Tourism Academy expects that number to reach 135 million Chinese outbound tourists.
image credit: hernán piñera