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May 19, 08

NEWS / Chinese Group Leisure Travel to the United States to Begin in June 2008

BEIJING—The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce today announced that starting on June 17, 2008, Chinese leisure travelers may travel to the United States in group tours under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by both countries. CNTA Chairman Shao Qiwei will lead the inaugural Chinese tour group on June 17 to Washington, D.C.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez said: “This MOU opens China’s growing market to U.S. travel and tourism industries. Now, more Chinese visitors can experience America’s hospitality, cultural diversity, and natural beauty. Increased visitation from China will boost overall visitation to the United States, strengthen the relationship between our nations, and forge new friendships between our peoples.”

“We very happily note that under the joint efforts of both China and the United States, tourism cooperation between the two countries is moving toward a new stage. The launch of business for Chinese group leisure travel to the United States will continuously expand promotion of China-U.S. tourism interaction and push the broadening of exchange and cooperation between the two countries in economic, cultural, and air services arenas, among others,” CNTA Chairman Shao Qiwei said.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gutierrez and CNTA Chairman Shao signed The Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the United States of America to Facilitate Outbound Tourist Group Travel from China to the United States on December 11, 2007, in Beijing, China during the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT). The MOU will be implemented according to a plan jointly confirmed by CNTA and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Currently, the United States is China’s fourth largest source of tourists. According to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), China is the fastest growing travel market in the world. By 2020, China will become the world’s fourth largest source of tourists.

On average, Chinese citizens spend more during their stay than visitors from other countries. In 2006, average per visitor spending by Chinese citizens traveling to the United States was more than $6,000.



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