CHINA’S BITE OF THE BIG AP­PLE

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By LI XUEQING in Shang­hai

lixueqing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

New York City saw a record num­ber of visi­tors from China in 2014, with Chi­nese tourist ar­rivals hav­ing jumped 20.9 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year, ac­cord­ing to NYC & Com­pany, New York’s of­fi­cial mar­ket­ing and tourism or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“With the visas (be­tween both coun­tries) hav­ing been ex­tended from one to 10 years, New York City is now even more ac­ces­si­ble to Chi­nese visi­tors. We are well on our way to 1 mil­lion an­nual Chi­nese visi­tors,” said Pres­i­dent and CEO of NYC & Com­pany Fred Dixon dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Shang­hai on July 9 to pro­mote one of the most pop­u­lar cities in the United States.

Visi­tors from China were also the third largest group, be­hind only the UK and Brazil. Of the 56.4 mil­lion peo­ple who vis­ited the Big Ap­ple last year, 809,000 of them came from China, and this fig­ure is ex­pected to in­crease again. New York City is ex­pect­ing to welcome 58.1 mil­lion visi­tors this year, in­clud­ing more than 932,000 from China. Dixon added that the city is plan­ning to add about 124,000 more ho­tel rooms within the next three years to cope with the ris­ing tourist ar­rivals.

The US is among the most pop­u­lar out­bound des­ti­na­tions for Chi­nese trav­el­ers. Based on a July 9 re­port by the China Tourism Academy, the US is also the coun­try that Chi­nese trav­el­ers are most sat­is­fied with in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2015.

Ac­cord­ing to NYC & Com­pany’s 2013 re­search data, New York’s Chi­nese visi­tors — ap­prox­i­mately 58 per­cent of whom are leisure trav­el­ers — spent an av­er­age of $3,591 per per­son per trip.

While most Chi­nese visi­tors to New York City usu­ally travel in groups or with fam­i­lies, Dixon ex­pects the num­ber of fully in­de­pen­dent trav­el­ers to be­come more pop­u­lar in the fu­ture and re­vealed that NYC & Com­pany is work­ing on a new travel pro­gram spe­cially de­signed to at­tract such Chi­nese trav­el­ers, with more de­tails to be an­nounced later this year.

Chi­nese visi­tors are also be­gin­ning to ex­plore New York to a greater ex­tent, in­stead of stick­ing to tra­di­tional at­trac­tions such as Wall Street, the Statue of Lib­erty and the Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art, where China is al­ready the top in­ter­na­tional source for visi­tors. Shop­ping is the most pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity for Chi­nese leisure trav­el­ers in New York, fol­lowed by sight­see­ing, art gallery and mu­seum vis­it­ing and fine din­ing.

The news con­fer­ence in Shang­hai also high­lighted the latest de­vel­op­ments in the city, such as the One World Ob­ser­va­tory and the Whit­ney Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art — which were un­veiled in May this year — and the New York Wheel and Em­pire Out­lets which will open within the next two years.

The latest NYCGO In­sider Guide was also rolled out dur­ing the event. The guide, which show­cases neigh­bor­hood at­trac­tions through­out New York’s five bor­oughs, taps onto one of to­day’s big­gest travel trends of liv­ing like a lo­cal.

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