The rest of America

By Qi Xijia Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/10 18:23:39

US Consul General in Shanghai hopes to attract more Chinese tourists

The waiting room of the US Consulate General in Shanghai Photo: Qi Xijia/GT


Sean Stein, US Consul General in Shanghai, delivers a speech at the event. Photo: Qi Xijia/GT

The US Consul General in Shanghai, Sean Stein, presided over a ribbon-cutting event at the American consulate recently to mark the completion of the redecoration of its waiting room.

The redecoration now features photos of many US natural wonders as a means of enticing more Chinese.

The photos aim to also promote off-the-beaten-path US destinations while emphasizing the importance of Chinese tourism in America, with China now its number one market in terms of spending.

Stein gave remarks encouraging more people-to-people exchanges while noting the growth of Chinese visitors, who he says have made significant contributions to the US economy. In 2016, almost 3 million Chinese nationals visited the US, contributing $33 billion in travel and tourism exports, according to the US Consul General in Shanghai.

"The number of Chinese tourists who want to go to the US has exploded," said Stein. "From Beijing to Guangzhou to Shanghai to Shenyang to Wuhan to Chengdu, all together, last year we had about 120 consular officers who helped process more than 2.5 million visa applications all around the country," Stein said.

The redecoration of the consulate's waiting room also hopes to promote a new trend of independent travel to the US, which has observed an increase in Chinese tourists who choose to go beyond guided tours and frequently visited cities.

"Every year, more than half a million Chinese pass right through here, and that's the way they started their journey to the US. We really wanted to change a little bit to reflect the changing way that Chinese tourists go to the US," said Consular Chief Bill Weissman about the recent redecoration.

Breaking the pattern

Stein recalled that, way back in the early days of Chinese tourism to the US, there was a pattern for Chinese tourists to plan their journey.

"They will be flying to California, maybe stop at Las Vegas, then go to New York, then maybe go to the Washington D.C. and then fly back to Beijing," Stein said.

Today, Chinese want to see "the rest of America," he added, just as more American tourists start to explore the rest of China outside its major cities.

Stein recalled that, in the past, American tourists mostly went to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chengdu for pandas in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, Xi'an for the Terracotta Warriors in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, climb the Great Wall in Beijing, then fly back to the US.

He believes that, as the tourists in the two countries travel more frequently and further, more mutual understanding and more relationships made through travel will help sustain the relations between the two countries.

"What I hope is that people coming through the [waiting] room here will look at the posters and decided to see more than San Francisco and New York, and that they will go beyond, go have fun, go local and go see many amazing things that the US has to offer," he said.


Posted in: CONSULATE

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