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U.S has $4.4 billion tourism surplus with China, but are businesses ready?

Excerpt from Fortune

Jun 08, 2013 4:30 am

Skift Take

Great overview of the challenges U.S. face in attracting more Chinese visitors, and why it needs to overcome them, for it own good.

— Rafat Ali

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More than 1 million Chinese visitors came to the U.S. in 2011…Commerce Department expects arrivals to rise 259% between 2011 and 2017…Chinese tourists in America spend about $6,000 per trip, more than visitors from any other country. Because their expenditures are technically exports, the U.S. ran a whopping $4.4 billion surplus in travel and tourism with China in 2011, up from a $687 million deficit in 2006.

The U.S. may be luring more visitors from China, but it takes in just a sliver of that country’s tourist expenditures, which hit $73 billion in 2011. More Chinese tourists preferred France, the world’s leading destination, that year. Many foreigners view the U.S. as unwelcoming, citing its stringent security measures…Beyond that, U.S. businesses have been slow to embrace the phenomenon. While the benefits of Chinese tourism have long been understood in Europe, where hotel chains and luxury brands derive most of their sales from overseas travelers, U.S. companies are only beginning to grasp the opportunity.

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