The U.S. Foreign Commercial Service in Beijing and the U.S. Embassy in China are launching a social media contest in China aimed to promote food tourism in the United States. The contest, titled “American Foodie Tour” encourages Chinese social media users to upload their best photos of U.S. regional cuisine to Weibo, with the best photo each week winning a prize, as well as entering the “grand prize” drawing that will conclude the contest in May. The contest will also feature bi-weekly trivia contests with additional prizes related to food and travel in the United States.
The contest, which involves a large range of sponsors from the U.S. tourism industry, as well as U.S. companies operating in China, officially begins on April 17, and will run until May 19. The contest aims to promote regional cuisines, with each week the contest runs dedicated to a particular region in the United States. Social media users are encouraged to submit their own photos of a dish from the region, including the name of the dish, as well as where it comes from. Contest entries are judged by a panel of judges from both the U.S. Embassy in China, as well as representatives working in the Chinese tourism industry. In total, five regions will be featured in the contest, covering all of the United States.
While the contest officially takes place on Weibo under the hashtag “#行美国品美食” (“Travel America, Taste Culinary Delicacies”), the U.S. Embassy and its affiliated Missions will also be announcing contest events and winners on other Chinese social media platforms, including WeChat. In addition, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, as well the U.S. Consulates in Shenyang, Guangzhou, and Shanghai will host in-person food and travel-related events at their cultural centers, inviting locals to experience and learn about U.S. food, culture, and travel.
The headline sponsor of the social media contest is Disneyland, which sponsors the “grand prize”—a round trip to the United States, including a Disneyland vacation package and staying at the Disneyland Hotel in Florida, as well as entrance tickets to a food and wine festival. Other travel-related sponsors include Brand USA, Delta Airlines, Hertz, Hawaiian Airlines, Universal Studios, Visit Seattle, Visit Pittsburgh, The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, United Airlines, DM Investment, and Galaxy Tour. Additionally, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks are providing selected contest participants with vouchers for use at their coffee shops in China.
“The social media contest is designed to get Chinese travelers interested in visiting the U.S. by exploring the cuisine from the five regions featured in the contest. Following this theme, a fun part of the launch event will be the opportunity for you to explore the United States by tasting American food from our featured destinations and food sponsors,” Scott A. Shaw, Acting Minister-Counselor for Commercial Affairs, said during the contest’s launch event at The Ritz-Carlton Beijing.