US Travel Industry Nightmare Unfolds As Chinese Tourist Stay Away From Washington, DC

A new report via China News Service shows how Chinese tourists visiting Washington, DC, has fallen off a cliff. 

Destination DC, a local tourism promotion organization, said in a new report that 226,000 Chinese tourists visited DC in 2018, which is a 25% drop from the prior year.

The plunge in Chinese tourism represents the second consecutive year of declines, having fallen 3% in 2017.

Benoit Barraud, general manager of bus company Big Bus Tours, said his company had seen 20-25% declines in overseas customers taking tours in downtown DC in 2018. Barraud said much of the decline is coming from Chinese tourists.

"I absolutely do not want this trend to continue," Barraud said.

With nationalism and protectionism rising in the US, and even anti-Chinese sentiment that is being manufactured by the Trump administration, Chinese tourists have had enough, and are now going elsewhere. This could be problematic for the DC tourism industry because on average, these folks spend $6,700 per visit, are some of the top spenders in the world.

"The Chinese are my best clients, I like them," a Washington events planner who declined to be named told to Xinhua.

China News Service said New York City is also feeling the slump in Chinese tourist.

New York's tourism promotion agency, NYCgo, said the rate of Chinese inbound travel "continues to cool from previous gains" but is still expected to grow marginally this year.

Some believe the trade war between the US and China is directly responsible for the decline of inbound Chinese to DC and New York.

"Rhetoric from the White House is dampening foreign tourists' enthusiasm to visit Washington," Destination DC's CEO Elliot Ferguson said.

NYCgo told businesses in New York that the trade war was responsible for the slowing traffic from China.

Wilka Nascimento, sales director at a Hyatt Place hotel in central DC, noted that the uptick in visa denials for foreign tourists had slowed the hospitality business.

"In one case half of a tour group were denied visas," she said, adding that new rules only allow tourist with vias to book rooms.

The US Travel Association 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.

Earlier this month, we reported that a collapse in tourism was seen in Beverly Hills as Chinese and Saudi tourist went elsewhere. 

With escalating trade tensions between both countries might not result in a trade deal until after the 2020 election, the tourism industry in DC, New York, and even Beverly Hills will likely implode, due to the lack of Chinese tourist.