As Trade War With U.S. Grinds On, Chinese Tourists Stay Away

Chinese tourists taking pictures of the Statue of Liberty in 2014. Chinese tourism to the United States was down last year, the National Travel and Tourism Office said.CreditÁngel Franco/The New York Times

The New York Times
Date: June 12, 2019
By: Martha C. White

Chinese tourists taking pictures of the Statue of Liberty in 2014. Chinese tourism to the United States was down last year, the National Travel and Tourism Office said.CreditCreditÁngel Franco/The New York Times

A new battlefront has opened in the trade war between the United States and China: the $1.6 trillion American travel industry.

A Los Angeles hotel long popular with Chinese travelers saw a 23 percent decline in visits last year and another 10 percent so far this year. In New York City, spending by Chinese tourists, who spend nearly twice as much as other foreign visitors, fell 12 percent in the first quarter. And in San Francisco, busloads of Chinese tourists were once a mainstay of one fine jewelry business; over the last few years, the buses stopped coming.

Figures from the Commerce Department’s National Travel and Tourism Office show a sharp decline in the number of tourists from China last year.

Industry professionals worry that the drop-off is picking up speed this year, affecting not just airlines, hotels and restaurants, but also retailers and attractions like amusement parks and casinos.
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