American and Chinese tourism officials continue their efforts to grow travel relations between the two countries. For the third time, officials from both countries gathered together to look at the opportunities before them, and to explore how they can jointly strengthen and expand international travel between their prospective countries.
The two-day Orlando summit drew representation from thirty Chinese provinces and twenty-three U.S. states. In addition, Shao Qiwei, Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration, and U.S. Travel Association President and CEO, Roger Dow were in attendance.
A Memorandum of Understanding was sign by tourism officials from both countries as part of their combined efforts to strengthen cooperation in tourism between the countries.
"These summits help to nurture the developing tourism trade between our two countries," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "We know that tourism not only stimulates the economy but also encourages cultural understanding and widens global perspectives. We are glad to encourage this relationship and continue to welcome more Chinese travellers to the United States."
The summit also brought about a lot of discussion with regard to current issues that affect tourism both inbound and outbound of each of the countries; the H1N1 Flu epidemic, and the Shanghai World Expo 2010 among others. Leaders also looked at current travel trends in the American and Chinese markets as a means of gauging how well their efforts are working.
In December of 2007, the United States was designated as an approved country by China. Recently, Chinese tourism officials added an additional fifteen provinces as Chinese group leisure travel provinces. This brings the current total of provinces that fall under this heading to twenty-one.
500,000 mainland Chinese citizens travelled to America in 2008. Chinese travellers to the United States have an average stay of 23 days, and spend more money than any other inbound group.
The international travel partnership will hopefully continue to strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries, and help to boost the travel industry sector of both countries’ economies.