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US tourism frets over sudden dive in arrivals from China

June 3, 2019 Headline News No Comments

The trade rift between the US and China is hammering tourism to the US, with a sudden dive in Chinese tourist arrivals prompting a response from the US Travel Association (USTA).

Tourism from China to the US has dropped for the first time in 15 years, with data from the US National Travel and Tourism Office showing that visits by Chinese tourists fell 5.7% to 2.9 million last year.

USTA executive vice president for public affairs and policy, Tori Barnes, issued the following statement:

“The difficulty with trade skirmishes is that the unintended consequences are hard to predict, and we were concerned from the start that tensions with China might affect business and other travel to the US.

“The irony is that travel exports have been the greatest success story of our trade relationship with China, generating a USD 30 billion surplus and accounting for 19% of all our exports to that country in 2017.

“The Chinese visit the US in strong numbers, and they spend an average of USD 6700 per trip – about 50% more than the average international visitor.

“While our commercial and security relationships with China are certainly complicated, it is an undeniable fact that Chinese travel to the US has been a huge win for the US economy and jobs, and there are warning signs that advantage is beginning to erode.”

MEANWHILE, on another front, China may be about to restrict exports of “rare earth” minerals to the US or apply heavy tariffs. Rare earths are a group of 17 chemical elements used in everything from high-tech consumer electronics to military equipment.

Unfortunately for the US, some are found predominantly in China.

Written by Peter Needham

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