16.6.08

Good News for Chinese Wanting to Visit the United States

Outbound travel from China to the United States is expected to be easier for Chinese tourists, according to officials from the US embassy in China during a webchat with China Daily Wednesday in Beijing.

"As tourism companies are preparing for the increased number of Chinese tourists to the US, there will be a lot more companies that are able to offer Chinese-speaking tour guides," said Darrel Ching, commercial officer with the US embassy.

Ching added that signs in Chinese will be posted not only at entry points but also at tourists' sites which will be helpful for the large number of Chinese visitors.

The first Chinese tour group is set to arrive in US on June 17, as a result of China granting approved destination status to the US to facilitate outbound tourist group travel to the North American country last December.

In order to travel to the US, potential Chinese visitors must apply for a visa, which is considered tough by many Chinese. Nancy Abella, Non-immigrant Visa Section Chief Officer of the US embassy in China, says the number of people getting visas to go to the US is growing every year and that won't be an obstacle.

"Already last year in 2007 the US embassy and consulate in China issued well over 400,000 visas. That was an increase of 17 percent from the previous year. More than four out of five people who apply for visas in China get their visas," Abella said.

Ching adds with the increasing China market, many US destinations are keen to have Chinese tourists. He returned from a travel and tourism show in Las Vegas last week and reported many US destinations expressed wanting to be more active in the China market.

"With the opening of the market, there will be more and more industry players come into the picture and with that will be more products and services available to all consumers," he said.

According to the US Department of Commerce, the numbers of Chinese visitors is forecast to reach 579,000 by 2011.

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