More and more Chinese tourists are traveling to New York. NY1’s Valarie D'Elia joined a group of out-of-towners on their journey around the Big Apple.
Legions of affluent Chinese tourists are visiting the Big Apple these days.
“In 2012, we've had 541,000 visitors, which is a huge number,” said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company.
In fact, according to a report by Skift.com, mainland China became the world's biggest source of foreign tourists in 2012. This upper echelon of the Chinese population are globeshoppers.
“The average Chinese tourist spends more than $5,000 on one visit to the United States and to give you a comparison, that's more than half of the average annual salary for a household in China,” said Vincent Trivett, an analyst for Skift.com.
NYC & Company said about one-fifth of that amount is spent on New York City visits.
Chinese outbound tourism to America is booming, partly due to the Chinese government encouraging travel and a quicker process for a U.S. Visa.
“From that moment forward we went from hundreds of days of wait times to get an appointment to under a week,” said Chris Thompson of Brand USA.
Most Chinese travelers to the United States opt for group tours, like those aboard this harbor cruise experiencing the thrill of seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time.
But interest is growing in independent visits.
Especially with social media and the Internet, more Chinese are able to develop their own itineraries and even do self-driving tours in America.
Whether it's a do-it-yourself or a guided tour, the travel industry is making the Chinese feel at home.
“So many of the different hotels are obviously having concierge service in Mandarin, they even serve breakfast, traditional Chinese breakfast,” Fertitta said.
Souvenirs are especially important to Chinese travelers, even if that includes a snapshot with a nosy New York reporter.