'U.S.-China Tourism Year' Campaign Will Boost Travel Spending

A newly developed joint international campaign, “U.S.-China Tourism Year,” gives tourists and travel industry providers new resources to increase travel between the two countries. 

Along with increased tourism, the campaign seeks to boost cultural understanding and appreciation of natural resources. It extends reciprocal short-term tourist and business visas issued to each other's citizens from one to 10 years and reciprocal extension of student visa validity from one to five years.

“We are setting the stage for great growth in Chinese visitation to all areas of the United States in 2016 and beyond," said Chris Thompson, president and CEO of Brand USA, the company that manages the campaign.

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the China National Tourism Administration launched the project in Beijing on Feb. 29, bringing together about 350 U.S. and Chinese tourism industry professionals and national and provincial government leaders representing China and the United States, including U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews, U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus, and Kelly Craighead, National Travel and Tourism Office executive director.



Key business partners for the launch event include Visa, Inc. and United Airlines. President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping first announced the bilateral initiative during President Xi’s fall visit to the United States. 

To support the campaign, Brand USA has created a Web site to serve as an online resource center to the travel industry, including a calendar of events and additional marketing resources for travel industry businesses. Brand USA and the U.S. Department of Commerce will use the site to communicate best practices for each country.

China is the sixth-largest source market for inbound tourism to the United States, according to statistics tracked by the National Travel and Tourism Office of the Department of Commerce and Brand USA. 

More than 2 million Chinese visited the United States during 2014, a jump of 20% over the previous year. China could become the largest source market for long-haul travel into the United States within three years, Thompson added.

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