[ti:Fewer Chinese Traveling to United States]
[00:01.20]The United States tourism industry is facing a problem:
[00:06.44]A drop in the number of Chinese visiting U.S. cities and states.
[00:13.24]Close to 3 million Chinese traveled to the country last year.
[00:18.08]They spent quite a lot of money.
[00:21.72]The U.S. Travel Association estimates they spent an average of $6,700 per person per trip.
[00:33.04]That amount is more than 50 percent higher
[00:37.04]than the average spending of international tourists, the group said.
[00:43.40]But the number of visitors from China
[00:46.20]dropped nearly 4 percent in the first six months of this year.
[00:52.00]This follows a nearly 6% drop in 2018.
[00:58.44]Tourism industry experts say there could be several reasons for the smaller number of visitors.
[01:07.01]Theresa Belpulsi is with Destination DC, the tourism marketing office for Washington, DC.
[01:18.28]She thinks one of the reasons is trade tensions between the two countries.
[01:25.28]"With the trade war, with some of the travel warnings, with some of our visa challenges
[01:31.08]that we've had, we've seen a little bit of a dip in Chinese visitors," she said.
[01:38.48]"The U.S. is just losing market share," notes Adam Sacks,
[01:44.10]president of advisory service Tourism Economics.
[01:48.96]"Something's made the U.S. uncompetitive, and I would target the trade war as one of the reasons."
[01:57.52]Larry Yu is a professor of hospitality management at George Washington University.
[02:05.94]He says that people are slow to forget the idea that a country has an unwelcoming environment.
[02:15.48]"The trade war creates a kind of environment in China that makes people think twice," Yu said.
[02:24.15]"Even though we know that Chinese demand is high,
[02:28.88]the current environment makes people substitute the U.S. for another place."
[02:36.72]China's government has published two warnings for Chinese interested in visiting the United States:
[02:44.80]One was about gun violence; the other, about harassment by U.S. law enforcement.
[02:52.96]In a related issue, visa approvals for Chinese visitors have become more difficult.
[03:00.57]The U.S. rejection rate of Chinese tourist visa applications reached 17 percent
[03:08.60]in the 12 months from October 2017 to September of 2018.
[03:15.28]Five years earlier, the rate was a much lower 8.5 percent.
[03:22.32]U.S. tourism competitors are also taking steps to attract Chinese travelers.
[03:28.97]The European Travel Commission has joined with Chinese representatives at travel shows
[03:36.01]and partnered with Chinese media personalities to share videos and social media posts.
[03:43.80]The commission notes that Europe welcomed 14 million Chinese tourists last year.
[03:51.40]Adam Sacks of Tourism Economics says he hopes that local travel marketing agencies
[03:59.78]across the country can help raise the number of Chinese tourists.
[04:05.84]The District of Columbia, for one, has increased its advertising and programs for China.
[04:14.35]Destination DC's latest plan is to offer hotel discounts for the Lunar New Year in 2020.
[04:24.76]The plan includes a number of events and performances aimed at Chinese tourists.
[04:33.96]San Francisco has used social media to reach out to Chinese tourists.
[04:41.44]The city created ads that drove some 12 million people to a contest
[04:48.05]showcasing the city's famous landmarks.
[04:52.80]The San Francisco Travel Association says the city used two popular Chinese apps,
[05:00.40]WeChat and Weibo, for the campaign.
[05:04.81]At the same time, tourism marketing agencies for U.S. cities and states
[05:11.72]are trying to reach countries other than China.
[05:16.60]Utah and Los Angeles, among others, are trying to expand their presence in nations like India.
[05:25.76]"There's a great deal of interest," said Jamie Foley of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board.
[05:34.32]"But that comes with the understanding that India is very different from China."
[05:41.48]Even with the drop in Chinese tourists, some experts note
[05:46.28]how important China will be to the U.S. tourism industry for years to come.
[05:54.28]"The trade war's an important subject, but it's seen as a temporary setback,"
[06:00.61]said Sage Brennan, co-founder of the company China Luxury Advisors.
[06:08.68]"Over the next 20 to 30 years, China is going to continue to impact and shape the tourism market."
[06:18.54]I'm Alice Bryant.
[06:20.72]And I'm John Russell. 更多聽力請訪問51VOA.COM