A huge portion of that growth will come from China, which is expected to send 3.1 million visitors to the States in 2019, a 172% increase over 2013 figures. That will put China behind only Mexico and Canada in terms of the number of visitors it sends, according to the US Department of Commerce.
This is good news for the US economy — last year, 1.8 million Chinese tourists visited America and spent a whopping $US21.1 billion. That number could top $US80 billion by 2021, writes Avery Booker at China Luxury Advisors.
The projected growth is thanks in part to the new extended US-China visa agreement signed at the APEC summit last November, which is encouraging an increase in Chinese business travellers and tourists to the US.
The new B-category non-immigrant visa can now be issued for up to 10 years for business or tourist travel for either US citizens going to China or Chinese travellers coming to America.
That’s significantly more than the length of time permitted by student visas, which only allow students and exchange visitors to have entry visas valid for up to five years or the length of the program.
The new visa also makes it cheaper to travel to the US since previously Chinese business travellers and tourists had to apply annually for visas which could cost as much as $US160 to process. It also extends student and exchange visas from one to five years.
“I think America is a top destination for many different reasons,” Hansi Men, an investment immigration lawyer at Streit & Su law firm, told Business Insider. “Most people in China still think America is number one. Many Chinese parents also take their children to America to show them top schools like Yale and Harvard,” he added.
Canada currently sends the most tourists to the US, followed by Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Japan. China ranks seventh (but is expected to rise four spots by 2019).
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