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NTA China Inbound Program

NTA is your verified source for U.S. inbound travel resources and the leader in facilitating Chinese leisure group travel to the United States. Since 2007 private sector travel associations based in the U.S. have been permitted to submit lists of qualified tour operators to the China National Tourism Administration. The associations must attest that these operators can ensure the highest quality experience for visitor groups. This is the most secure and most rewarding method of attracting visitors from China to your business.

NTA is the only U.S.-based trade association with a tour operator qualification program approved by the China National Tourism Administration. By joining the China Inbound Program, members can learn about Chinese leisure travel to the U.S., and tour operators can complete the application to participate in this special program.

Use the following resources to learn more about this NTA initiative:

  • China Inbound Facts

    Through NTA, the U.S. welcomes group leisure Chinese travelers. The United States and China have signed an agreement to facilitate Chinese group leisure travel to the United States. This agreement provides the necessary framework to permit group leisure travel from China to the United States. NTA currently has over 200 China inbound tour operators in its membership.

    Chinese regulations restrict companies from organizing and marketing package tours for leisure purposes to countries that do not have agreements in place, often referred to as Approved Destination Status agreements (ADS). This Memorandum of Understanding fulfills this purpose without changing existing laws or policies of the United States, including the issuance of visas.

    China Travel Facts and Figures:

    • China ranks fifth in the number of annual visitors to the United States, having set records in 2015 for both arrivals (2.6 million) and spending ($30 billion).
    • In 2015, inbound travel rose 18 percent.
    • China is the fastest-growing source of travel into the United States, increasing from 320,000 visitors in 2006 to a projected 4.5 million in 2019.
    • By 2021, China is projected by the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office to become the third-largest inbound market, sending some 5.7 million visitors to U.S. destinations.
  • FAQs

    NTA China Inbound Program Changes

    1. The requirements for participation in the NTA China Inbound Program were recently changed. Why was this done? How can I get a copy of the new requirements? NTA wants to do all it can to ensure a quality experience for Chinese group leisure tourists. From the NTA China Inbound Task Force and other tour operators, NTA learned that certain practices (such as coerced shopping activities) were not promoting a welcoming visitor experience. NTA prepared a new set of criteria to address issues that have arisen in the China inbound market since the signing of the MOU. Tour operators are asked to attest to this new set of criteria to affirm their standing on NTA’s Approved Tour Operator list. The new criteria are available on NTA’s website and will be sent to all operators currently on the approved list. In short, in addition to attesting to existing criteria (such has having final pricing and itinerary information in Chinese, a Chinese guide or accompanier, etc.), approved tour operators must now also commit to and attest to:
      • That no aspect of the itinerary will be misrepresented and that the location and quality of lodging must be accurately portrayed in tour advertising and confirmations.
      • They will utilize suppliers and contractors that are sufficiently licensed, maintain up-to-date registration and insurance and are in compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations relevant to their tour function.
      • They will review crash data, safety ratings and safety records of motorcoach subcontractors utilized for China inbound group travel. The tour operator shall also commit to utilizing motorcoach subcontractors properly licensed in the state(s) of operation for China inbound group tour travel and which are in compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations.
      • Shopping opportunities for China inbound tour groups shall be conducted without coercion at reputable shopping facilities, with quality products, with the greatest care for visitor safety and wellbeing.
      • The tour operator shall commit to participation in educational programming in order to keep abreast of current issues and trends in the Chinese inbound U.S. market. These changes are made with the input of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the China National Tourism Administration.
    2. Why were these changes deemed necessary? NTA adopted these changes in order to enhance the overall experience for Chinese group leisure travelers. As group leisure travel to the United States is a new phenomenon, NTA wants to ensure that tour operators create the best possible tourism environment. The new criteria were developed through deliberations of the NTA China Inbound Task Force, NTA members and dialogue between NTA and the Department of Commerce and the China National Tourism Administration. CNTA recognizes that NTA is committed to safety and quality for Chinese group leisure travelers and has been briefed on these new requirements.
    3. What will happen if my company does not re-register? If a current NTA China Inbound Program operator does not re-register and attest to the new criteria by the June 25 deadline, their company will be removed from the Approved Tour Operator list. If your company qualifies for the program but misses this deadline, you can be reinstated at the next transmission.
    4. What happens if my company does not uphold these new criteria?Companies that are found not to be upholding current NTA China Inbound Program criteria will be removed from the approved list. An appeal process exists for reinstatement in one year.
    5. I just joined the NTA approved list. Do I have to re-register? Yes. All approved tour operators must affirm the new criteria.
    6. I missed the deadline for re-registration. Can I get my dues payment to NTA refunded? No. As your membership in the National Tour Association is still in good standing, your dues payment is not refundable per the NTA bylaws.

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I can help!Lin Wang | Director, China Market Services

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