China is quickly becoming one of the most important outbound tourism markets in the world. According to the UN World Travel Organization (UNWTO), China is the fastest growing international travel market and is estimated to have 100 million international travelers by 2020. By 2013, inbound travelers from China to the U.S. are expected to exceed 800,000. These travelers spend an estimated $7,000 per trip - significantly more than the typical domestic visitor.
In order to position Pierce County to capture this growing market, the TRCVB partnered with the Seattle CVB in April to host 14 VIP Chinese tour operators for a familiarization tour, an educational session on the Chinese market, and business meetings with local suppliers. This two-day event gave us the opportunity to connect and build relationships with VIP operators interested in Northwest product development.
After a few days in the Seattle area, we were all off to Active America-China in Las Vegas. Active America is designed to help promote inbound tourism from China to North America through networking activities, relationship-building meetings and educational sessions. At this event, I had the opportunity to meet with more than 20 Chinese operators in 15-minute meetings and even more during the networking activities. Plus, I learned a lot about the Chinese travel market and what it's going to take to get them to bring their visitor spending dollars to Pierce County. Our team is very excited to pursue this market even further!