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Decline in Chinese tourists costs $20 Billion to America's economy

U.S. tourism officials are eager for the return of Chinese tourists, who are, by far, the biggest spenders among global travellers. If the situation doesn't return to normal, the cost could amount to $20 billion. Here are some statistics and points to provide clarity:

  • Prior to the pandemic, up to 3 million Chinese travellers visited the U.S. annually, contributing over $30 billion to the economy.

  • However, this year, due to the pandemic, the number of Chinese tourists is expected to be fewer than 850,000, resulting in a 68% decrease in traveller volume.

  • This decline translates to more than $20 billion in lost spending by Chinese visitors in the U.S.

  • The impact of reduced Chinese tourism is particularly severe in West Coast cities like San Francisco, where these visitors injected over $1.2 billion into the local economy before the pandemic.

  • In contrast to the slow U.S. recovery, Canada has achieved 102% recovery, in part due to waived visa requirements for certain countries.

  • Challenges like extended wait times for visa interviews and concerns about gun violence deter potential travellers to the U.S.

  • The U.S.-China trade war and ensuing punitive measures have further strained tourism between the two countries.

  • While U.S. tourism organisations hope for the return of Chinese tourists, they're working to replace lost revenue with tourists from other countries.

  • Encouragingly, Indian travellers have already returned to pre-pandemic levels, contributing positively to the U.S. tourism industry.

In a highly competitive $855 billion global travel industry, the absence of Chinese tourists, who are the highest spenders, raises concerns about America's competitiveness as a desirable destination.