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Brand USA has received several inquiries about the potential impact on travel and tourism between China and the United States.

To help respond to these inquires, we are providing the answers to the most frequently asked questions we have received.

Brand USA is maintaining a robust presence in China for two reasons: (1) The long-term strength of the market and its importance as a critical source of growth and (2) the continued strong interest Chinese travelers have for visiting the USA.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question

Given trade tensions between the United States and China as well as 2018 arrivals figures showing a 5.7 percent decline in Chinese visitations, is Brand USA making any changes to its marketing strategies in China?

Answer

Brand USA continues to maintain a robust presence in China for two reasons:

  1. The long-term strength of the market and its importance as a critical source of growth; and
  2. The continued strong interest Chinese travelers have for visiting the USA.

Our research shows that Chinese traveler interest in the USA remains high—particularly among key Brand USA target demographics. Regardless of the trade tensions that currently exist between our two governments, consumer interest remains strong—and it’s important that we maintain our presence so we don’t lose ground with consumers over the long-term. 

According to the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), Chinese visitor spending in the United States reached $36.4 billion in 2018, a new record topping the 2017 figure and good for the largest single market for U.S. travel and tourism exports.

These latest figures reinforce the importance of high-level relationship building and of keeping the benefits of travel and tourism top of mind to both countries.

It's also worth noting that one of the many great things about travel and tourism is that it provides economic and social benefits to both the originating and destination market. Brand USA is proud to work with our many U.S. and international travel and tourism marketing partners to promote travel opportunities and experiences to travelers that transcend politics and help bring the world just a little bit closer.

By promoting travel to the United States, we not only contribute to economic growth in our country; we also support and grow the travel industry in target markets like China by driving business for tour operators, travel agents, wholesalers, and others whose business it is to transact travel product on the ground.


Question

Have you seen reports of increased wait times in China for a visa interview as well as more detailed questions on the visa application, and does this change how you are approaching the market?

Answer

Brand USA works to communicate up-to-date information through all its available channels. Specific questions about U.S. consular operations and statistics should be directed to the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the State Department. Brand USA’s focus is to make sure our messaging remains relevant, credible, and connected to our role as the nation’s destination marketing organization.

As the nation’s destination marketing organization, we are not responsible for setting U.S. visa policy. But we are aware that as of May 31, the Bureau of Consular Affairs now requires global visa applicants to enter their social media handles (no passwords, no posts) on the visa application form. This is similar to an update to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization that occurred within the past two years. For more background or detailed information, you may contact the State Department or click here.  


Question

How does Brand USA respond to travel advisories out of China, such as the ones issued at the beginning of June from the Chinese government warning Chinese citizens about their safety when traveling to the USA?

Answer

We understand that all countries have the right to issue statements to their citizens about international travel. As Brand USA monitors motivations for coming to the USA compared to other countries, the USA continues to rank as one of the safer destinations to visit. We know that a secure travel environment is critical to the continued success of the United States as a diverse destination that attracts travelers throughout the world to experience the wide variety of exceptional experiences available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. For more data on this topic you can see this recent article in Skift


Question

What kind of investment does Brand USA have in the China market?

Answer

Brand USA is fully deployed in the China market across consumer, travel trade, PR, and cooperative marketing channels. The focus of our campaigns in FY2019 is to build inspiration to make the USA a top aspirational destination by leveraging search, inspiration and consideration media, social ads, macro influencers and more. These efforts are supported by robust travel trade engagement from our four offices in China and by innovative cooperative marketing programs that allow partners to access and succeed with the Chinese visitor.


Question

What is Brand USA’s position on the current trade tensions between China and the USA?

Answer

It is outside our role to comment on policy decisions; however, one of the many great things about travel and tourism is that it provides economic and social benefits to both the originating and destination market.  

We are proud to work with our many U.S. partners and international travel and tourism marketing partners in more than 40 markets throughout the world to promote travel opportunities and experiences that transcend politics and help bring the world just a little bit closer.

By promoting travel to the United States, we not only contribute to economic growth in our country, we also support and grow the travel industry in our target markets by driving business for tour operators, travel agents, wholesalers, and others whose business it is to transact travel product on the ground.