The first US-bound Chinese leisure tour group is set to depart on June 17, heralding a new era in Sino-US relations. Shao Qiwei, head of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), will escort the inaugural tour group to Washington DC, the city to host the fourth China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue on the group’s arrival. Shao told a press conference that CNTA is pleased the bilateral tourism relationship is moving in a new, positive direction.
Last December, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to open outbound tour-group travel from China to the US. The MOU would open China’s market to the US, and such businesses as tour operators, airlines, hotels and banks are expected to benefit.
And after five months of talks, CNTA and the US Department of Commerce reached agreements on the details.
The first phase will last 6 months, during which only 9 provinces and municipalities can organize US-bound tour groups. Group members must be residents with hukou in Beijing, Tianjin or Shanghai municipalities, or Hebei, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces. And domestic tour operators with licenses in the 9 municipalities and provinces to run out-bound tourism operations can organize US-bound tour groups. As for tourists’ US destinations, there are no specific restrictions.
US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez believes that the increased visitation from China would be helpful in reducing the US trade deficit with China.
Popularity: 1% [?]