In November of 2014, the Chinese and American government signed a reciprocal visa policy, pledging to increase the validity of tourist and business visas. Citizens can now get a 10-year multi-entry visa to each other’s countries. The White House believes this could result in an economic impact of $85 billion a year by 2021. Just how important is Chinese travelers to the American economy?
Chinese have been among the fastest-growing and highest-spending U.S. visitors in recent years. In 2013, 1.8 million Chinese tourists visited the U.S., contributing $21.1 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting more than 109,000 U.S. jobs, the White House said.
According to U.S. government data, China accounts for more than 14% of all US non-immigrant visa applications worldwide, i.e. the most around the world. Chinese visitors have accounted for one-fifth of the growth in overseas travel to the US since 2008. Official data also shows Chinese visitors spend about $7,000 per person in the U.S., compared with the average of $4,500 for all overseas visitors.
“China is the fastest-growing outbound tourism market in the world,” the White House said in a November statement. “A competitive visa policy will help us meet projections that suggest as many as 7.3 million Chinese travelers will come to the US by 2021, contributing nearly $85 billion a year to the US economy and supporting up to 440,000 US jobs.”
After the change of visa policy, Chinese swarm for the new 10-year US visas. In December 2014 and January 2015, the US issued 351,650 business and tourist visas to Chinese citizens. That is a year-over-year increase of 68.2%.
New York City has already experienced 300% increase of Chinese visitors over the past five years, with about 646,000 in 2013 and 743,000 in 2014. With the significant growth of visa issued, more increase is expected. Related businesses, including hotels, retail, entertainment, dinning and transportation are gearing up to cater to their important guests.