Miracle no more: Zero growth in Chinese travel to U.S.

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Photo Credit: Torwai Studio/Shutterstock

After a decade of astronomical growth in Chinese visitors to the U.S., the trend ground to a halt in 2018.

Chinese travel to the U.S. was flat after registering average annual growth of 23% over the last 10 years, partly due to trade tensions between the two countries, said the World Travel & Tourism Council. China accounts for 4% of total U.S. visitors but 11% of all spending. 

"Given the economic importance of Chinese visitors, any thawing in the trade relations between the two countries would have a positive effect for the wider U.S. economy," said WTTC CEO Gloria Guevara.

Despite no increase in international visitors from China, the United States in 2018 continued to be the world's largest travel and tourism economy in terms of contribution to GDP. 

WTTC research found that travel and tourism contributed almost $1.6 trillion, or 7.8%, to U.S. GDP in 2018, a 2.2% increase year over year. 

WTTC's analysis shows that the direct, indirect and induced impact of travel and tourism in the U.S. accounted for 15.6 million jobs and $198.8 billion in spending by international visitors in 2018, a 0.9% decrease. 

Globally, WTTC found that travel and tourism contributed $8.8 trillion to the economy in 2018, growing faster than global GDP for the eighth successive year (the travel economy grew 3.9%, compared to 3.2% for global GDP).

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