Tourism is big business in the world, nation and here in North Carolina. When someone visits our state’s many tourist attractions, they create income, jobs, spending and tax revenue. Today, there’s an increased focused on tourists from China, says N.C. State University economist Mike Walden.
“(T)his is a very interesting topic, because … when people from other countries come to the U.S.. that’s actually considered a U.S. export in terms of the trade relationships, and … the U.S. actually runs a trade surplus in terms of tourism. More foreign people come to our country and spend money than U.S. people come to foreign countries.
“Now, that said, the focus today is really on tourists from China. They’ve been coming to the U.S. in increasing numbers. For example, in 2011 over 1 million Chinese visitors came to the U.S. That was more than double … the number in 2008.
“Experts think that this is going to increase from 1 million to 3 million in five years. The average Chinese tourist spends about $6,000 in the U.S. per trip. And in terms of the trade surplus that now the U.S. runs with China in terms of tourism, in 2011 that trade surplus for the U.S. was $4.5 billion.
“So this is really a growth area. And, obviously, I think North Carolina has a lot to offer for any tourist, particularly one from China. So I look for this to be an area we’re going to see more focus and more businesses moving into in the coming years.”