CHINA’S BITE OF THE BIG APPLE
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.