Chinese tourists to the USA : 10 key insights

In 2024, here 10 key insights by Tourism professionals about Chinese tourists visiting the United States:

  1. Shopping Enthusiasts: Chinese tourists are known for their love of shopping while traveling. Luxury brands, electronics, fashion, and cosmetics are popular purchases.
  2. High Average Spend: Chinese tourists tend to have a relatively high average spending per trip. They often allocate a significant portion of their budget to shopping and dining.
  3. Preference for Outlet Malls: Outlet malls, known for offering discounts on designer brands, are a major draw for Chinese tourists. Locations like Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in New York are particularly popular.
  4. Social Media-Savvy: Chinese tourists rely on Chinese social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and Little Red Book to plan their trips, share experiences, and seek recommendations from peers.
  5. Independent Travelers: An increasing number of Chinese tourists prefer independent travel over group tours. They enjoy the freedom to create personalized itineraries and explore at their own pace.
  6. Popular Destinations: Key destinations for Chinese tourists include major cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Hawaii. Natural wonders like national parks and scenic routes also attract visitors. source in Chinese
  7. Visiting Educational Institutions: Some Chinese tourists visit the U.S. for educational purposes, touring universities and schools with the aim of studying abroad.
  8. Visa Application Process: Obtaining a U.S. visa can be a lengthy and rigorous process for Chinese tourists, but many are willing to navigate it for the opportunity to visit.
  9. Language Preferences: English proficiency varies among Chinese tourists, with many relying on translation apps or travel guides to bridge language barriers.
  10. Cultural Experiences: Chinese tourists seek cultural experiences beyond shopping. They are interested in American history, entertainment, and local cuisine, often trying iconic American dishes like burgers and pizza during their trips.

Chinese tourists, a goldmine for the american tourism industry

ten data points about Chinese tourists in the USA:

  1. In 2019, Chinese tourists made approximately 2.97 million visits to the United States.
  2. Chinese tourists spent an estimated $36.4 billion in the U.S. in 2019.
  3. The average spending per Chinese tourist during their U.S. visit was approximately $12,250.
  4. California, New York, and Nevada were among the top destinations for Chinese tourists in the U.S.
  5. Over 90% of Chinese tourists used smartphones to plan and navigate their trips in the USA.
  6. The average length of stay for Chinese tourists in the U.S. was around 14 days.
  7. Chinese tourists accounted for a significant portion of luxury shopping in the U.S., with over 30% of global luxury sales attributed to Chinese buyers.
  8. Popular shopping districts for Chinese tourists included New York City’s Fifth Avenue and Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive.
  9. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted Chinese tourist arrivals, leading to a sharp decline in visits.
  10. The U.S. travel industry has been actively working to attract Chinese tourists, including efforts to simplify visa application processes and offer tailored experiences.

A very dynamic market

Chinese tourists’ spending abroad are still on the rise! They are now ranked second among the tourists who spend the most in the USA. According to a recent american survey on foreign visitors in 2024, more than 1,2 million chinese tourists visited the USA 2019, spending a total amont of 2,3 billion dollars.

Chinese tourists USA

90% of the chinese tourists would enjoy shopping when they travel to a foreign country, spending 10 800 dollars on average!

Canadian tourists the most numerous to visit the US last year and the one who spent the most with a total amount of 3,4 billion dollars more than the chinese tourists… but for 10 times more people!

Chinese tourism NY

Yes, chines tourists are the biggest spender in the world… to know more, click here.

Chinese “super-travellers”

One of the reason for this exentric spending of chinese tourists? Super-travellers.

65% of the chinese tourists who travel abroad are super-travellers, very wealthy, and extravagant spenders! The USA has been their second favorite destination for the last three years. Last year, those so-called super-travellers have extended the duration of their stay from 18 to 20 days on average.

How does the american tourism industry adapt

American luxury hostels have recently been putting a lot of efforts to adapt the phenomenon and attract those chinese customers.

The Marriott Hotel sends representatives in China and require from its employees to speak some sentences in mandarin. At the Marriott Marquis, New York, the number of the 44th the number of the rooms were changed to avoid number 4, which brings bad luck in the Chinese culture.

Chinese clients

The Hilton sends on a regular basis representants to China in order to get in touch with local travel agencies. The group has been developping a special program to welcome chinese with chinese speaking teams. In 63 of the group’s hotels, chinese menus are offered and oranges and clementines are arranged in the rooms, providing good luck for its asian VIP.

Starwood goes the extra mile too

The Startwood, owner of the Sheraton, the Westin and W hostels, has also reviewed its services, offering kettles and tea in the rooms, menus in chinese with noodle and porridge, and its data sheets and website have also been translated into Mandarin.


And so do tourism offices…

Tourist Offices also adapted their strategy in order to capt more of this growing chinese tourism market. The State of California, among others, has set up a program untittled “China Ready”, including handbooks giving informations about the chinese culture and the way to behave with chinese customers.

Why such an influx of chinese tourists to the USA?

The growth of the middle class and the easing of the visa policy would be responsible for the growth in chinese tourists spending abroad, especialy in the USA.

Chinese tourists NY

A limited phenomenon

However, the american tourism industry won’t expect to much from this phenomenon.Zho Ping, one of the most influent researcher at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, declared that it would slow down. The chinese economic downturn  and dollar fluctuation could indeed restrain the buying power of chinese tourists in the USA. 

A chinese tourism market expected to remain dynamic FOR 2024

Chinese super traveler

Predictions for Chinese tourists visiting the USA can be influenced by various factors, including economic conditions, travel policies, and global events. Here are five possible predictions:

  1. Gradual Recovery Post-Pandemic: It is expected that the number of Chinese tourists visiting the USA will gradually recover following the COVID-19 pandemic. As vaccination rates increase and travel restrictions ease, there may be a slow but steady return to pre-pandemic levels.
  2. Shift Towards Independent Travel: Chinese tourists have been increasingly favoring independent travel over group tours. This trend may continue, with more Chinese tourists planning their own itineraries and seeking unique, personalized experiences in the USA.
  3. Diversification of Destinations: While major cities like New York and Los Angeles will remain popular, Chinese tourists may also explore less-traveled destinations in the USA, such as national parks, cultural and historical sites, and scenic routes.
  4. Sustainable and Wellness: Chinese tourists are showing a growing interest in sustainable and wellness tourism. They may seek eco-friendly and health-focused travel experiences in the USA, such as nature retreats and wellness resorts.
  5. Digital Engagement and E-business : Chinese tourists are likely to continue using digital platforms for trip planning, booking, and sharing experiences. U.S. businesses may need to enhance their online presence and e-commerce capabilities to cater to this tech-savvy audience.

What is the good strategy to lure chinese tourists?

marketing strategies to attract Chinese tourists to the USA, each with its own slogan:

  1. “Discover the Unexplored USA” – Promote Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations Strategy: Highlight lesser-known U.S. destinations, such as national parks, small towns, and hidden gems, offering Chinese tourists unique and authentic experiences.
  2. “Shop, Dine, and Savor” – Showcase Food and Shopping Adventures Strategy: Emphasize the diverse culinary offerings and shopping experiences across the USA, from foodie adventures to luxury shopping sprees.
  3. “Educational Journeys, USA” – Promote Educational and Cultural Experiences Strategy: Position the USA as an educational hub, showcasing universities, museums, and cultural sites to attract Chinese students and culturally curious travelers.
  4. “Eco-Wonderland USA” – Highlight Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Tourism Strategy: Attract environmentally-conscious Chinese tourists by promoting eco-friendly and sustainable travel options, including nature conservation and green initiatives.
  5. “Wellness Oasis USA” – Market Health and Wellness Tourism Strategy: Target wellness-minded travelers with offerings such as spa retreats, holistic wellness centers, and stress-relief escapes in picturesque American settings.
  6. “Tech-Savvy USA Adventures” – Engage Digital and Tech Enthusiasts Strategy: Appeal to tech-savvy Chinese tourists by showcasing cutting-edge technology experiences, augmented reality tours, and smart city innovations.
  7. “Personalized USA Escapes” – Offer Tailored Experiences and Itineraries Strategy: Customize travel itineraries and experiences for Chinese tourists, ensuring a personalized journey that caters to their specific interests and preferences.

Top Social Media Strategies in China in teh Travel industry

  1. “RED, Where Your Journey Begins: Harnessing Social Media for Chinese Tourism Promotion”
    • Highlighting the use of RED (Xiaohongshu) and its role in initiating travelers’ adventures.
  2. “Douyin Delights: Captivating Chinese Tourists Through Social Media Magic”
    • Emphasizing the captivating power of Douyin (TikTok) in engaging travelers.
  3. “Baidu SEO Secrets: Leading Chinese Tourists to Your Adventure”
    • Showcasing the role of Baidu in guiding travelers to your tourism offerings.
  4. “Forum Finesse: Joining Conversations for Tourism Business Success”
    • Highlighting the significance of online forums in engaging with potential visitors.
  5. “Managing Your Online Reputation: Shaping Trust and Travel with Social Media”
    • Emphasizing the connection between online reputation management and building trust for travel.

Starwood for china

You want to know more about the impact of social network on Chinese tourists? Click here

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We help Hospitality and travel Businesses to expand their Business in China.

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