The Largest-Ever Chinese Tour Group Hits New York, Spends $6 Million

    This week, China's largest-ever America-bound tour group hit New York in a Chinese New Year tour organized by Continental Airlines and the New York Galaxy Travel Agency.
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Travel

    More Than 1,000 Chinese Tourists Head To New York To Celebrate Chinese New Year, Welcomed By Lion Dance At Macy's#

    Jing Daily

    Last fall, Jing Daily wrote about the increased outreach efforts of retailers like Macy's to reach out to Chinese -- and other free-spending -- tourists in New York. From special discount cards to smaller, but similarly appreciated, gestures like multilingual signs, retailers in major American tourist destinations like New York have recognized the huge opportunity that China's growing ranks of outbound tourists present and have retooled their marketing appropriately.

    This week, the efforts of Macy's and others were apparent, as China's largest-ever America-bound tour group (numbering around 1,000) hit New York in a Chinese New Year tour organized by Continental Airlines and the New York Galaxy Travel Agency. According to Chinese media, the activities organized by Macy's were a hit among members of this large tourist contingent. From Huanqiu, via Xinhua (translation by Jing Daily team):

    America's largest retailer, Macy's, on February 15 received the largest Chinese tour group ever to travel to America, the "Gathering of 1,000." These tourists took part in a lion dance activity organized by Macy's to commemorate Chinese New Year and received special shopping cards and gifts in a welcoming ceremony.

    These visitors, most of whom are from Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, will stay a total of 8-10 days in the U.S., and their tour will convene in New York during Chinese New Year. In addition to visiting the 100-year-old Macy's store -- which held the lion dance for these tourists -- the group enjoyed a special lighting event at the Empire State Building, which was opened up exclusively for Chinese tourists on Chinese New Year. At the event, Chinese Consul General Peng Keyu attended the lighting ceremony, which lit up New York in red and yellow.

    It is estimated that the "Gathering of 1,000" Chinese tourists will contribute roughly $6 million to the U.S. economy in this trip alone.

    Naturally, Chinese online opinion about this group of 1,000 free-spending tourists (who apparently spent an average of $6,000 each, if Xinhua's estimates are correct) is mixed, with the Jiefang Ribao (Liberation Daily) quoting critical netizens and concluding somewhat cooly, "This tourist trip is just a tourist trip. It proves nothing and it changes nothing. Isn't it overkill to cheer or criticize it?"

    Jing Daily

    While it may be overkill to read too much into this huge tourist group, and it certainly seems overly reactionary to criticize it too much -- as Chinese tourists, like anyone else, have the right to spend their money on tourism and shopping if they so choose -- New York retailers (and tour operators) definitely have reason to cheer. If the news coming out of Taiwan this week -- where the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has reiterated its desire to attract 3,000 mainland Chinese tourists daily in 2010 for a target of 1 million tourists for the year -- is any indication, retailers in Taipei and elsewhere are likely hoping for similar waves of tourists to flood their registers with cash.

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