5.7% drop in Chinese tourists to US in 2018

 

The article says that after more than a decade of rapid growth, Chinese travel to the US is falling.

Friction between the US and China is one reason for the slowdown. The Trump administration first imposed tariffs on Chinese solar panels and washing machines in January 2018, and the trade war has escalated from there. The US now has a 25% tariff on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports, while China has retaliated with tariffs on US$60 billion of US imports.

The article says there are other reasons behind the slowdown. Economic uncertainty in China has travelers at the lower end of the market vacationing closer to home, says Wolfgang Georg Arlt, director of the Chinese Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI), which found that 56% of travelers leaving China in the last three months of 2018 went to Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan compared with 50% in 2017. Those who do travel farther are seeking out more exotic destinations like Croatia, Morocco and Nepal.

The article says that the US welcomed more than 3 million Chinese visitors in 2016 and 2017. But year-over-year growth edged up just 4% in 2017, the slowest pace in more than a decade.  It says however that most industry-watchers agree that any downturn is temporary, since China's middle class will only continue to expand. The US government forecasts Chinese tourism will grow 2% this year to 3.3 million visitors, and will reach 4.1 million visitors in 2023.

"Even if the Chinese economy cools, it's still going to continue to be a very good source of growth for the travel industry," said David Huether, senior vice president of research for the US Travel Association.

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