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First Chinese Leisure Group Travelers Arriving in June

May 16, 2008

First Chinese Leisure Group Travelers Arriving in June
May 16, 2008 – The National Tour Association is playing a major role in today’s announcement from the China National Tourism Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The two countries announced that the Memorandum of Understanding signed in December will be initiated with an inaugural tour led by CNTA Chairman Shao Qiwei June 17 to Washington, D.C. Following the first group, Chinese leisure group travelers will be able to travel to the U.S. only through Chinese travel agents working with U.S. tour operators who are part of NTA’s China Inbound Program.


"NTA is both proud and honored to help the U.S. by playing a key role in the implementation of this MOU, which is a breakthrough bilateral agreement," said NTA President Lisa Simon, CTP.


The new agreement is expected to bring a much needed boost to the U.S. economy. By 2011, nearly 600,000 Chinese travelers are expected to travel to the U.S, an increase of 81 percent from 2006. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, Chinese travelers on average spend $6,000 per visit to the U.S. This is more than residents of any other nation.


U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez said, "This MOU opens China’s growing market to U.S. travel and tourism industries. Now, more Chinese visitors can experience America’s hospitality, cultural diversity, and natural beauty. Increased visitation from China will boost overall visitation to the United States, strengthen the relationship between our nations, and forge new friendships between our peoples."


"With the arrival of these new Chinese tourists, there is a great opportunity for the United States to present a welcoming image to the world," said Simon. "Travel has the power to change perceptions and aid in cultural understanding. This new agreement will help the U.S. form new friendships and create goodwill ambassadors."


"While we are honored to play a facilitating role in bringing Chinese leisure travelers to the U.S., we also pause to remember those who were lost by the recent Sichuan province earthquake," said NTA Chairman and CEO Bob Hoelscher, CTP. "NTA expresses our deepest sympathies to the people of China. We look forward to working with them in the future to foster greater cultural awareness for a more sustainable world."


NTA is the first and only U.S. organization approved by CNTA to facilitate Chinese inbound leisure group travel to the United States. To date, more than 90 tour operators have been approved to work with this new market. The approved list of tour operators from NTA’s China Inbound Program was given to CNTA through the Department of Commerce this week in preparation for implementation of the inaugural tour.


The National Tour Association is the preferred association in the tourism industry for packaged travel professionals. NTA’s diverse membership and progressive nature make it an industry leader as the place to do business. NTA consistently seeks innovations for the services and business tools it provides to members, and the leadership keeps its fingers on the pulse of the ever-changing world. In turn, NTA members are some of the most creative in the dynamic travel industry. NTA membership represents 34 countries, and tour and travel packagers of all types, including a group, independent, student, and more. To learn more, please visit

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