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Washington in push to become top Chinese tourist destination in US

By Xu Lin | | Updated: 2017-12-27 09:01
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Downtown Holiday Market in Washington DC [Photo provided to China Daily]

Destination DC, the official marketing organization for Washington, recently held promotional events in Beijing, Shanghai and Sanya in Hainan province aimed at attracting more Chinese tourists to the historic US city.

Washington offers wonderful sightseeing, delicious cuisine and colorful activities for those who want to learn more about the history of the United States. Chinese tourists like to visit the National Mall for its picturesque gardens, free museums and awe-inspiring monuments and memorials.

Official data shows that in 2016 about 304,000 Chinese tourists visited Washington, an increase of 1.3 percent over the previous year. This means that one in every 10 Chinese visitors to the United States traveled to Washington last year.

According to the China Tourism Academy, in the first half of 2017 more than 62 million Chinese people traveled overseas, an increase of 5 percent compared with the same period in 2016.

Destination DC has been working with other destination marketing organizations in the US such as Capital Region USA and its Chinese partners to better reach the Chinese market.

Its official website hosts 40 one-minute virtual reality videos showing different aspects of the city. At the same time, Destination DC plans to expand its social media marketing to target second- and third-tier Chinese cities in 2018.

In September 2016, Destination DC launched Welcome China, a certification program to help its members — hotels, restaurants and other attractions — learn about Chinese customs to enhance the travel experience for Chinese visitors.

"There are tremendous opportunities within the Chinese market in terms of leisure travel and business development," says Elliott L. Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC.

According to her, the city is committed to expanding its sales and marketing efforts in China in a bid to become the leading US destination for Chinese visitors.

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