On Monday, February 29, the United States and China launched the 2016 U.S.-China Tourism Year in Beijing at an opening ceremony hosted by the US Embassy and Brand USA. New IITA board member David Huang, with Chinese Host, graciously sent Bob Gilbert as our ambassador to represent the International Inbound Travel Association at the event.
The U.S. – China Tourism Year is a result of President Xi Jinping’s 2015 visit to the U.S. in which both countries pledged to develop a year of events that will promote and further open travel between the United States and China. According to the National Travel and Tourism Office, China was the number two country for visitor spending to and within the United States in 2014 with an estimated $23.8 billion spent on travel and tourism while only accounting for 2.9 percent of total international arrivals in the United States in 2014.
In addition to increasing travel between the U.S. and travel the U.S. – China Tourism Year aims to enhance the traveler’s experience, increase the traveler’s cultural understanding, and expand the traveler’s appreciation of natural landscapes in each other’s countries, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office.
Bob Gilbert, lead developer of China Ready Partners for Chinese Host, shared that the event was a success with about 500 in attendance. He added that attendees included regional Chinese tourism executives and outbound travel producers. The opening ceremonies included a short video welcome from Obama which can be viewed below.
While at the event Mr. Gilbert made a point to network with key industry figures who were excited to learn about the new direction of the International Inbound Travel Association. Several requested future meetings with IITA leadership to discuss potential partnerships.
The U.S. – China Tourism Year has kicked off with a promising future. The IITA is looking forward to its participation and impact on the year ahead.