As Jing Travel, a leading publication on Chinese travel, recently put it, “Golden Week consistently provides some of the most important indicators on what Chinese tourists value in leisure tourism, where they aspire to go, and how they plan on paying for it.”
If so, Golden Week, which was the first week of October, told us that the United States tour and travel industry is a victim of the U.S.-China Trade War. (Along with the Chinese New Year, the Oct. 1 National Day, which celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China and which kicked off Golden Week, is one of China’s two biggest holidays.).
The Proof? According to the Chinese mega-travel agency Ctrip, the U.S. saw a sharp decline in Chinese visitors with this year’s Golden Week, with flight bookings to the country down 41 percent compared with last year’s Golden Week. This year, seven million Chinese were expected to go abroad for Golden Week. The 7 million number represents more than 5 percent of all overseas travelers who leave from China annually.
In fact, when Ctrip reported its findings on Golden Week travel, America is now the 11th most popular destination for Chinese tourists, down from No. 5 last year.
In a brief, one paragraph summing up of the situation, the Japanese Nikkei Asian Journal, had this take on the Ctrip report: “Chinese travelers place a lot of weight on the current state of foreign relations when deciding where to vacation, and Sino-U.S. relations have been strained since Donald Trump was inaugurated as president at the beginning of 2017. The trade war that has been heating up lately has not helped the U.S. in this regard.”