China con­tin­ues to pump up tourism in Cal­i­for­nia

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By LIA ZHU in San Francisco li­azhu@chi­nadai­

China con­tin­ues to con­trib­ute to the growth of Cal­i­for­nia’s travel in­dus­try, which has ex­panded for the sixth con­sec­u­tive year fol­low­ing the 20072009 re­ces­sion, ac­cord­ing to an in­dus­try re­port.

Last year, trav­el­ers in Cal­i­for­nia spent $122.5 bil­lion, and tourism spend­ing con­trib­uted $9.9 bil­lion in state and lo­cal tax rev­enue and gen­er­ated more than 1 mil­lion jobs in the state, ac­cord­ing to an an­nual eco­nomic im­pact re­port re­leased on Mon­day by Visit Cal­i­for­nia, a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­motes Cal­i­for­nia on be­half of the state’s tourism in­dus­try.

The re­port says that di­rect vis­i­tor spend­ing rep­re­sents a 3.4 per­cent in­crease over 2014 in cur­rent dol­lars and a 4.9 per­cent in­crease in real dol­lars. The in­fla­tion-ad­justed

in­crease was greater be­cause of the de­cline in mo­tor fuel prices.

The GDP of the Cal­i­for­nia travel in­dus­try was $62.3 bil­lion in 2015, about 2.5 per­cent of the state’s to­tal, says the re­port.

Of to­tal vis­i­tor spend­ing, 24.4 per­cent is at­trib­ut­able to in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors, and China is the fastest grow­ing tourism mar­ket to Cal­i­for­nia.

Cal­i­for­nia re­ceives around 1 mil­lion vis­i­tors a year from China who spend $2.6 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Caro­line Beteta, pres­i­dent and CEO of Visit Cal­i­for­nia. She said China is ex­pected to soon over­take Canada as the largest in­ter­na­tional mar­ket, which is “some­thing” con­sid­er­ing that Canada is so close to the United States.

Beteta said the state has seen an 899 per­cent growth in Chi­nese vis­i­tors in the last 10 years and from 2014 to 2018 they ex­pect growth at 65 to 70 per­cent over­all.

“Be­cause it is so im­por­tant, we are ac­tu­ally in­vest­ing al­most $10 mil­lion a year in that mar­ket, and we just fin­ished open­ing two more of­fices in China,” she said.

Visit Cal­i­for­nia added of­fices in Chengdu and Guangzhou this year.

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