In analyzing the state of the Chinese market, industry analysts and observers seem to agree that it has become a “mature” market—notwithstanding the fact that it was only a little more than 11 years ago that the Chinese government bestowed Approved Destination Status (ADS) on the United States, a move that allowed tour operators and suppliers from the U.S. to promote their products in what has become the world’s largest source market of international travelers.
“Mature” means that both Chinese travelers and Chinese tour operators, as well as the receptive tour operators, travel suppliers and DMOs in the United States who sell to them have fully integrated China into the way the marketing and promotion of the U.S. travel product takes place across most markets. One indication of this is that NAJ’s Active America China trade show—it brings together Chinese operators in face-to-face meetings with U.S. suppliers and DMOs—which had its first edition 10 years ago to modest numbers in Atlanta, is scheduled convene its 11th annual edition next month in Anchorage, Alaska and has been a sellout for some time.
“Mature,” as it applies to the United States then, is a fair assessment of the Chinese Market—one underscored if you take a look at the data contained in the China Market Profile posted recently on the website of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO). The NTTO profile presents final numbers for 2017. While it might seem a little late for the 2017 numbers, it should be pointed out that it took a good part of last year for statisticians and technicians to repair an error in the way in which arrivals information was prepared for NTTO. Then, just as the data became available late last year, there was a partial government shutdown that lasted until late last month.
Among the highlights of the findings presented in the NTTO market profile are these:
—Three out every four Chinese travelers to the United States visited the Middle Atlantic and Pacific regions of the country.
—Overall, almost 7 out of every 10 visits were for leisure.
—When it comes to who they rely on for travel information, the top three sources cited by Chinese visitors are: airlines (40 percent) personal recommendations from others (more than 35 percent) and online travel agencies (26 percent).
—As expected, shopping and dining comprise two of the top activities that Chinese take part in when in the U.S., but they also like sightseeing in cities (81 percent), art galleries and museums (43 percent), and national parks and monuments (41 percent).
—Chinese travelers are very much like Americans in far out they plan their long-haul trip to the U.S., taking an average of only two months or so to do so.
Following are some of the key tables contained in the NTT0 market profile.
Note: Total Travel & Tourism Exports = travel receipts (purchase of travel and tourism-related goods and services, to include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the country of travel, and other items incident to a U.S. visit) + passenger fare receipts (fares paid to U.S. air carriers and vessel operators for travel from foreign countries to the United States). All traveler spending data are subject to periodic, annual, and decennial revisions. BEA releases details for Education Related spending, Other Business/Personal Travel spending, and Passenger Air Transportation spending in their October release. NTTO estimates Passenger Air Transportation in order to provide a Total Travel and Tourism Export estimate prior to October of the current year. All NTTO estimates are supplanted by the BEA October release.
Notes: Only country and world region destinations having a sample size consistently of 100 or more are displayed. Visitation incidence was rounded to two decimal places in NTTO source files beginning in 2014 to reduce artificial ‘jumpiness’ in the data caused by rounding to only one decimal places, especially for destinations having incidence of less than two percentage points. Due to quarterly data weighting by country and port of entry, some unreported destinations may have a higher proportion of total than those reported.
Main Purpose of Trip
All Purposes of Trip
Information Sources Used for Trip Planning
Activity Participation While in U.S.
Note: “Cruises” was removed as an activity type in 2012, but was added as a transportation type (“Cruise Ship/Rover Board 1+Nights”)
Selected Traveler Characteristics