U.S. DMOs endured a challenging 2019 as far as Chinese tourism was concerned. Political tensions, an increasingly stringent visa policy, and the weakening of the RMB against the US Dollar led to a 6.5 percent decline in numbers.

While the outbreak of the new coronavirus will likely depress arrivals in Q1 2020, the 2.35 million Chinese arrivals last year means the U.S. remains one of the most popular long-haul destinations.

Here, four DMOs weigh in on how they plan to promote their destinations to the world’s largest and most lucrative travel market in the Year of the Rat.

South Carolina Parks, Recreation & Tourism

“As more Chinese travel individually and look for unique destinations, South Carolina is well positioned to be a leading contender for visitors. Having close to 200 miles of coastline, scenic mountain views and waterfalls, a national park, and excellent cuisine and hospitality, the state offers a variety of activities and events. South Carolina works closely with Travel South, USA and Brand USA to engage the China market through advertising programs. Additional information about South Carolina can be found on our WeChat channel, Discover South Carolina.” – Duane Parrish, Director

Hawaii Tourism China

The Hawaii Tourism Authority’s strategy for the Chinese will be to focus on an integrated digital marketing strategy to generate compelling Professional Generated Content (PGC) and User Generated Content. Our goal is to build Hawaii as a unique and rich destination, by using Chinese consumer preferred social and digital media platforms to convey and differentiate Hawaii as a destination with a focus on culture, natural resources, community sentiment and responsible tourism.” – Alex Wong, Representative

Connecticut Office of Tourism

“Together with our partners at Discover New England and Brand USA, we look forward to connecting with Chinese tour and receptive operators in 2020 and beyond to further strengthen our relationship and promote all of the great things to see and do in Connecticut, while also working with our tourism partners locally to educate them about the international market. Conveniently located between New York City and Boston, Connecticut offers a unique blend of New England experiences—from the natural beauty of our coastline and countryside, to historical sites and world-class entertainment. We invite Chinese travelers to come experience our great state.” – Randy Fiveash, Director

Maine Office of Tourism

Maine is best known for its unspoiled natural beauty, including Acadia National Park, one of the most popular national parks in the USA. Maine’s miles of coastline also support the largest lobster fishery in the USA. Going forward, Maine hopes to capitalize on its easy access from Boston and collaborate with other New England states on outreach to receptive operators that promote these assets in the Chinese market.” – Steve Lyons, Director

Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development Office of Marketing, Tourism, and Film

“The Pennsylvania Tourism Office is committed to supporting the international tourism marketing efforts of Brand USA. The state participates in their global inspiration guide and other cooperatives marketing efforts to provide opportunities for destination marketing organizations from across the commonwealth to extend an invitation to international visitors. China is, without question, one of the top inbound markets for Pennsylvania.” Michael Chapaloney, Executive Director of Tourism

Edited by Richard Whiddington