Washington, DC Working to Enhance Appeal and Services for Chinese Tourists -- 华府加强服务以吸引中国游客

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by Kim Meihua Roy
The 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival at the National Mall featured a giant bamboo flower plaque and Chinese writing at the entryway of the “China: Tradition and the Art of Living” program. China is the top country of origin for foreign visitors to Washington, DC. Image: Flickr user Ken Lund. 美国国家广场的2014年史密森民俗节在中国传统和艺术节目入口处装饰有大型竹製花牌印有中文字。中国是华盛顿外国游客的首要来源国。图片由Flickr用户Ken Lund提供。

This article is presented bilingually in English and Chinese. For Chinese, click here. 本文附有中英双语版本。若需参阅中文版,请点击此连结 

Destination DC, the US capital city’s primary tourism management and marketing organization, hosted its 3rd Annual Global Marketplace conference in September 2016. The theme of the conference was “Welcome China”; its goal was to show travel and hospitality businesses in the DC area how to better cater to Chinese visitors. Destination DC introduced the Welcome China certification program and invited nearly 900 member organizations to qualify for the distinction by offering at least three out of 12 services that make a business easily accessible for Chinese people. Examples of such services include running a Chinese social media account, playing videos with Chinese subtitles, and employing at least one Mandarin speaking staff member.

This conference reflected the recent surge of Chinese tourists in Washington, DC. Since 2013, China has been the top country of origin for foreign visitors to DC. The city welcomed 2.14 million overseas visitors in 2015 and over 300,000 were from China. This represents a 635% increase in the number of Chinese visitors since 2005. Today, one out of every nine travelers from China in the US visits Washington.

Travel Market Insights predicts that tourism from China will increase by 96% over the next five years and that Washington may attract 500,000 Chinese travelers annually by 2020. Other market surveys have also shown a widespread desire among Chinese travelers to visit the US. Growing travel demand led Air China to create a non-stop flight between Washington and Beijing in 2014; United Airlines has operated a similar flight since 2007.

The US Department of Commerce and China National Tourism Administration marked 2016 as US-China Tourism Year. Consequently, places like DC, coastal South Carolina, Florida’s Miami-Dade County, and Nevada have promoted their tourist destinations to Chinese visitors. Experts estimate that by 2021, more than seven million Chinese people will visit the US each year, and their travel will create 440,000 new jobs.

Kim Meihua Roy is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a student at Brigham Young University.

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美国首都主要旅游管理和营销组织Destination DC于今年9月举办了第三届全球市场会议。这次会议透过“欢迎中国”的主题教导华府地区的旅游和酒店业者如何迎合中国游客。在这次会议,Destination DC向将近900个旅游业者介绍“欢迎中国”认证项目,并且邀请他们提供十二项中至少三种讓中國游客更容易取得的服務項目,例如使用中国社交媒体帐户、播放带中文字幕的影片、和聘用至少一名普通话工作人员。

“欢迎中国”会议意味着最近赴华府之中国游客大幅增加。自2013年以来,中国一直是该市外国游客的首要来源国。去年,华盛顿有214万海外旅客,超过30万来自中国。这也代表自2005年以來,中国游客人数增加了635%。如今,美国的每9个中国旅客中有一个将至华府旅游。

旅游行业咨询公司Travel Market Insights预测在未来五年内,中国游客访问美国的人数将增长96%,并且华盛顿在2020年前每年将接纳50万中国游客。其他市场调查也显示中国游客普遍地渴望访问美国。该趋势导致国航前年开启华盛顿和北京直航班机。美国联合航空公司于2007年也营运相似的航班。

美国商务部和中国国家旅游局将2016年定为“美中旅游年”。于是,华盛顿、南卡罗来纳沿海佛罗里达州迈阿密-戴德县、及内华达州等已向中国观光客推广旅游景点。专家估计,到2021年,每年将有超过700万中国人到訪美国并将创造44万个新工作机会。

饶美华是东西方华盛顿中心的研究实习生和杨百翰大学学生。