The number of annual outbound Chinese tourists visiting coastal U.S. cities such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco will triple during the next decade, and their spending will quadruple, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) predicted, citing a study it commissioned from Oxford Economics.
Almost 1.2 million Chinese tourists will visit New York in 2023, up from about 395,000 in 2013, according to IHG. During the same time period, Los Angeles’ annual tourism arrivals from China will jump to about 1.1 million from 392,000, while San Francisco’s will surge to more than 700,000 from about 250,000.
The number of outbound China tourism visits to the world’s cities has been widely estimated to jump during the next few years. With outbound China tourism numbers predicted to rise by about 5% a year through the next decade, China is expected to leapfrog the U.S., U.K. and Germany to become the world’s largest source market for long-haul travelers by 2020.
But the report details how Chinese tourists’ predisposition to urban destinations, combined with the attraction of U.S. cities to Chinese students and easing visa regulations, will make cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington and Las Vegas the biggest beneficiaries
So, while the number of Chinese visitors to regions such as Western Europe and the Middle East is expected to multiply, the number of annual Chinese visitors to the U.S. will jump by more than 3.4 million between 2013 and 2023, making the U.S. the country that will see the biggest jump by far in China tourists.
Meanwhile, China-based tourism spending will grow even faster than either visitor numbers or hotel-room night growth as a larger contingent enters the middle class, according to IHG.
Annual China visitor spending in both New York and Los Angeles will surpass $5.4 billion in 2023, up from about $1.4 billion a decade earlier, the company predicts, while China visitor spending in San Francisco, Washington and Las Vegas will approach or surpass the $3 billion mark in each city by 2023. In fact, the U.S., which now attracts less than half as much annual China tourism spending as Macau, will almost catch up to that Asian gaming destination by 2023.
As the largest hotelier in the world by room count, IHG, whose brands include Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza as well as its luxury InterContinental badge, has incentive to study and publicize such research. The company this year will debut Hualuxe, the first brand specifically dedicated to China travelers, in Nanchang and Yangjiang
IHG has also instituted what its calls a “China Ready” program at more than 80 of its global properties, including U.S. InterContinental properties in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington. The program’s amenities, which will be expanded downscale to more properties such as Holiday Inn hotels, include serving congee (rice porridge) for breakfast, Mandarin-speaking staff, Chinese TV stations and an extensive tea selection
Such touches will be valuable as domestic hoteliers welcome a growing number of visitors from China, according to Jolyon Bulley, COO of IHG’s Americas region and former COO of IHG’s Greater China region.
“There are so many people moving into the middle class, and once they hit a certain income threshold, those travel aspirations become immediate,” Bulley said. “The current group traveler will be the future FIT.”