The U.S. Government Shutdown’s Latest Casualties: Chinese Tourists

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During China’s Golden Week last week, many Chinese travelers not interested in cramming into tourist locations shoulder-to-shoulder with millions of strangers at home decided to head abroad for a more leisurely vacation. For those visiting the United States, their trips were especially heavy on the “leisure” part, since they had literally nothing to do thanks to the government shutdown.

According to the South China Morning Post:

Some Chinese tourists visiting the US during the nation’s week-long National Day holiday have complained of a lack of spots to visit after the US government closed hundreds of federally funded sites.

National parks, national museums, monuments, and even the National Zoo were all shuttered during the week, leaving not much to see in some areas. It must have been especially aggravating for those attempting to take in the country’s natural scenery, as there’s not much else to do in places like Wyoming:

Two Chinese tourists were photographed holding a “closed” banner outside the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming allegedly in protest against the closure, according to North American-based Chinese paper World Journal.

Some unhappy visitors believed they should receive compensation for coming all the way to the United States with nothing to see.

A tourist from Shanghai told the Xinhua news agency that the US government should compensate Chinese tourist because “no travel agency would compensate for that since the incident was beyond their control”.

“The shutdown affects Chinese tourists the most because it is a Chinese holiday and many Chinese people have made plans to visit places like Washington DC,” she said.

With the number of global Chinese tourists skyrocketing, competition is becoming fierce among locations working hard to attract them. The government shutdown during Golden Week does U.S. tourist locations no favors as retailers, hoteliers, and tourism offices alike have meanwhile been putting on a heavy charm offensive to attract this high-spending contingent of visitors.

However, some maintained a sense of humor about the situation, shown by Sina Weibo users’ signature acerbic wit:

Others tried to make light of the shutdown by linking the closure to the “uncivilised” behaviour of some Chinese tourists. “Why do I get the feeling that the US closed its sights just to avoid Chinese visitors on holidays? I think they will reopen on the 8th,” a blogger said. The Chinese holidays ends on Monday.

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Industry Sectors, Jing Travel

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