American States "Off The Beaten Path" Welcome Chinese Tourists

    With many mainland Chinese outbound tourists planning their second or third trip to the United States, Hawaii or California aren't the only states reaching out to this lucrative market.
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Finance

    Interior States Join California, Hawaii In Incorporating Chinese Language In Tourism Websites, Signage#

    Last month, Jing Daily looked at the huge increase in outbound tourism among wealthy and middle-class mainland Chinese, who last year spent $42 billion overseas. As we wrote at that time, to cater to the growing ranks of Chinese outbound tourists,

    Much like the increase in Japanese signage and other gestures that hotels and many tourist sites implemented in the 1980s when Japanese tourists began to venture outward in record numbers, we can expect to see more of these changes taking place to cater to the millions of mainland Chinese who are doing the same.

    Since then, we've seen other highly visible outreach efforts to tap into the Chinese tourist market take place, most recently from Hawaii. This week, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) announced that it will send a tourism sales team to the Incentive Travel & Conventions Meetings China travel show to market the state’s meetings industry. Probably a good idea, since China ranks third worldwide for business travel behind the United Kingdom and United States, according to the HVCB.

    Nowadays, though, with many mainland Chinese outbound tourists planning their second or third trip to the U.S., Hawaii or California aren't the only states reaching out to this lucrative market. According to CNNGo, hoping to attract more adventurous Chinese tourists to see the "real" (meaning, we suppose, "rural") America, states like Georgia are incorporating the Chinese language into tourism websites and using social media to reach out to potential tourists -- a trend that was discussed last month at the ITB tourism conference in Berlin (previously on Jing Daily).

    From CNNGo:

    As the number of Chinese visiting the United States skyrockets -- it’s expected to jump 15 percent to 556,000 this year and exceed 800,000 by 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce -- it’s not just the tried and true destinations of California, Las Vegas, Hawaii and New York that are welcoming the tour busses [sic]. Despite budget cuts, state tourism boards across the country are making an eager push to woo Chinese tourists, rolling out lists of initiatives to show these savvy travelers why their corners of the map deserve a visit.

    Kevin Langston, deputy commissioner of the tourism division at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, says that while Chinese travelers often choose to see iconic U.S. landmarks on their first visit to the States, they also want a close-up view of Americana, the county fairs and the corner drug stores. “Our greatest opportunity in Georgia is that second or third trip when they want to see how real Americans live and gain a deeper understanding of a unique region of the country, like the American South,” Langston says.

    To introduce Chinese travelers to the Peach State, department staff members have attended travel trade shows in China, led the Chinese Travel Channel on a two-week media tour and created a Georgia tourism website in Mandarin. They’re now hoping to promote Georgia through social media platforms, for instance, by having Chinese students blog about the state.

    The article goes on to mention similar efforts by tourism boards in Vermont, Illinois, Miami and New Mexico. Interestingly enough, New Mexico might be more well-placed than some would think, considering the interest (noted in the article) in "Cowboys and Indians" among many in China -- a development noted by Adam Cathcart back in January.

    So could we see Chinese tour groups headed directly to Native American reservations in New Mexico and Arizona or to Georgia's state parks in the near future, in addition to the usual tourist hotspots? Considering Chinese tourists spend upwards of $7,000 each per trip, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, it's doubtful that anyone would see that as a bad prospect.

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