Chinese visits to the U.S. have seen double-digit growth in the past two years and the strong momentum is expected to continue thanks to favorable visa policies and government-initiated promotion campaigns, experts said Tuesday.
In 2015, the number of Chinese tourists to the U.S. stood at around 2.6 million, up 17 percent from 2014, making China the sixth-largest source of tourists for the U.S., according to data from the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) under the U.S. Department of Commerce.
In November 2014, the Chinese and U.S. governments agreed to issue multi-entry visas valid for 10 years to each other's citizens, greatly boosting Chinese people's enthusiasm for traveling to the U.S.
While the number of Chinese tourists to the U.S. reached around 2.6 million in 2015, those traveling to the EU, another major long-distance travel destination for Chinese people, numbered over 3.42 million in 2015, the CNTA data showed, indicating the potential for the U.S. tourism market.
The NTTO has predicted that the number of Chinese tourists to the U.S. will grow by 16 percent year-on-year in 2016. And by 2020, China is expected to move from No.6 to No.3 in terms of tourist visits to the U.S., the NTTO said.
The U.S. government announced earlier this month that Chinese holders of 10-year U.S. visas should renew their visa information every two years from November 2016, but experts said this change will not dampen Chinese people's enthusiasm for visiting the U.S.
Travel agencies have been eyeing the boom in Chinese tourism to the U.S. Leading domestic travel agency Ctrip.com said on Tuesday that it has launched over 5,000 travel products to the U.S. in 2016, in cooperation with a number of U.S. travel bureaus and agencies.
In 2015, Ctrip.com helped around 700,000 Chinese tourists visit the U.S., and in 2016 the company is targeting 1 million, according to a statement from ctrip.com.
The company also noted that Chinese citizens are no longer satisfied with regular sightseeing on the East and West Coast in the U.S.. Their travel products are now increasingly diversified, including items like skydiving and church weddings.
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