Hawaii Global Links Newsletter
Chinese Group Leisure Travel to the United States to Begin in June 2008
Friday, 16 May 2008

Starting on June 17, 2008, Chinese leisure travelers may travel to the United States in group tours under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by both countries.

China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) Chairman Shao Qiwei will lead the inaugural Chinese tour group to Washington, D.C. on June 17.  For the first six months, only residents of the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai and of the provinces of Guangdong, Hebei, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu and Zhijiang will be able to take advantage of the opportunity.

Executive Director Bo Wu and Tina Yao of
Marketing Garden staffed the Hawaii booth.

U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez and Shao made the announcement on May 15 at an event that was organized—in part—by the Beijing Office. Staff shared a booth with Marketing Garden, the State’s marketing arm in China.

Gutierrez said: “This MOU opens China’s growing market to U.S. travel and tourism industries. Now, more Chinese visitors can experience America’s hospitality, cultural diversity, and natural beauty. Increased visitation from China will boost overall visitation to the United States, strengthen the relationship between our nations, and forge new friendships between our peoples.”

The Hawaii booth featured the Study Hawaii
brochure which presented educational
opportunities in the state.

Shao added:  “We very happily note that under the joint efforts of both China and the United States, tourism cooperation between the two countries is moving toward a new stage. The launch of business for Chinese group leisure travel to the United States will continuously expand promotion of China-U.S. tourism interaction and push the broadening of exchange and cooperation between the two countries in economic, cultural, and air services arenas, among others.”  

Gutierrez and Shao signed The Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the United States of America to Facilitate Outbound Tourist Group Travel from China to the United States on December 11, 2007 in Beijing during the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT). The MOU will be implemented according to a plan jointly confirmed by CNTA and the DOC.

Currently, the United States is China’s fourth largest source of tourists. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, China is the fastest-growing travel market in the world. By 2020, it will become the world’s fourth largest source of tourists. On average, Chinese citizens spend more during their stay than visitors from other countries. In 2006 for U.S. travel, average per visitor spending was more than $6,000.

When the agreement was announced in December, DBEDT Director Ted Liu called it a “breakthrough.”  Hawaii State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wieinert noted that “Hawaii expects that China will become an integral part of our group leisure travel market.”

In 2006, Hawaii hosted 54,318 visitors from China, but these individuals came for business or educational reasons.   

Representatives of U.S. states posed with Secretary
Gutierrez after the announcement.


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 May 2008 )
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