Destination DC, the US capital city’s primary tourism management and marketing organization, hosted its 3rd Annual Global Marketplace conference in September 2016. The theme of the conference was “Welcome China”; its goal was to show travel and hospitality businesses in the DC area how to better cater to Chinese visitors. Destination DC introduced the Welcome China certification program and invited nearly 900 member organizations to qualify for the distinction by offering at least three out of 12 services that make a business easily accessible for Chinese people. Examples of such services include running a Chinese social media account, playing videos with Chinese subtitles, and employing at least one Mandarin speaking staff member.
This conference reflected the recent surge of Chinese tourists in Washington, DC. Since 2013, China has been the top country of origin for foreign visitors to DC. The city welcomed 2.14 million overseas visitors in 2015 and over 300,000 were from China. This represents a 635% increase in the number of Chinese visitors since 2005. Today, one out of every nine travelers from China in the US visits Washington.
Travel Market Insights predicts that tourism from China will increase by 96% over the next five years and that Washington may attract 500,000 Chinese travelers annually by 2020. Other market surveys have also shown a widespread desire among Chinese travelers to visit the US. Growing travel demand led Air China to create a non-stop flight between Washington and Beijing in 2014; United Airlines has operated a similar flight since 2007.
The US Department of Commerce and China National Tourism Administration marked 2016 as US-China Tourism Year. Consequently, places like DC, coastal South Carolina, Florida’s Miami-Dade County, and Nevada have promoted their tourist destinations to Chinese visitors. Experts estimate that by 2021, more than seven million Chinese people will visit the US each year, and their travel will create 440,000 new jobs.
Kim Meihua Roy is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a student at Brigham Young University.
美国首都主要旅游管理和营销组织Destination DC于今年9月举办了第三届全球市场会议。这次会议透过“欢迎中国”的主题教导华府地区的旅游和酒店业者如何迎合中国游客。在这次会议，Destination DC向将近900个旅游业者介绍“欢迎中国”认证项目，并且邀请他们提供十二项中至少三种讓中國游客更容易取得的服務項目，例如使用中国社交媒体帐户、播放带中文字幕的影片、和聘用至少一名普通话工作人员。