The past couple of years in Fairbanks, Alaska were eye-opening for both the local establishments and national travel analysts.
Over the last winter seasons in the country, the second-largest city in the United States experienced a growing trend of affluent Chinese students flying to Fairbanks every March in their spring break.
According to the locals, typically the Chinese students would visit the Arctic Circle and rent cars to drive around the wintry roads and slopes of the state.
Chinese Contributes to the Largest Inbound Market
Fairbanks, along with the many preferred states of wealthy Chinese people class, are still on the verge of learning how to accommodate and maximize the potential market value of this new breed of market.
But, Chris Thompson, CEO of Brand USA assures that all facets of the marketing and advertising organizations are already in the process of helping the travel and tourism industry to become “China ready” — which would include training and teaching the U.S. hospitality industry about the intricate modicums of Chinese tradition — to better provide for their needs.
Travel Weekly reports that in three years’ time, China would become the main contributor for both seasonal and long-term travels in the country.
China in Numbers
Currently, China provides 2 million Chinese visitors year over year in the country. “China has an opportunity to be the greatest contributor to our path to 100 million visitors,” Thompson added.
By transitioning and adapting China ready elements to all sectors of the tourism industry, the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) is confident that it will reach the goal of the incumbent administration of 100 million visitors by 2012.
The USTA reports that 75 million foreigners visited the country last year, which is an indicator that the tourism generation masterplan of the USTA and all branches of the industry is working smoothly.
The Difference of Chinese Travelers from Other Tourists
Upon the discovery of this trend, many other states are also following suit. But apparently, despite only placing sixth on the largest inbound market source in the U.S. tourism, a Chinese visitor is much more valuable than two or three other foreign visitors combined.
Mike Gallagher, CEO of City pass says, “What’s great about them is they come for about two weeks, and they’ll spend about $7,000 each per trip, the most of anybody in the world because they have the money to do it.”
On the other end, the NYC & Company reports that the Chinese traveler rate slowed to 8% last year after several years of slight improvement. But, once the U.S. tourism sector addresses the U.S. tourism is hopeful that they further set this market to the next level.