Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), a government agency focused on air travel, said in a monthly briefing on Thursday that it expects a drop in airline capacity and bookings to the US over the Chinese New Year, first reported by Reuters.
CAAC said the decline in outbound travel during the upcoming holiday week would be the first time in four years due to a seismic shift in tourist destinations.
Chinese middle class, some of the richest in the world, is expected to abandon the US for Japan, Thailand, and South Korea, during the holiday week next month.
CAAC didn't explain the cause of the shift in tourism, but after more than a decade of rapid growth, Chinese travels to the US are falling as President Trump's trade war deepens into the 17th month.
The resulting trend has been hugely damaging for the US tourism sector.
The US Travel Association recently warned that tourism from China might never recover as other countries will take market share.
In the last year, Chinese tourists have been flocking to Russia, Europe, Australia, and Canada, spending record amounts of money.
"If market share loss continues in future years, the United States will be losing out on one of the largest and fastest-growing source markets of global travel," the US Travel Association warned.
In August, we reported that a slump in tourism was seen in Beverly Hills as Chinese and Saudi tourists went elsewhere.
While the Chinese might be abandoning the US tourism industry, they're still traveling around the world in increasing numbers. Outbound travel from China rose 5.5% in 2018, as it seems the great decoupling between the US and China is not just affecting trade and technology, but now has spread into tourism.