恭喜发财！Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Lunar New Year, the most important holiday celebration in the Chinese calendar, begins this Saturday, January 28 with the arrival of the Year of the Rooster. According to the Chinese zodiac, those born in the Year of the Rooster are said to be observant, hard-working, courageous, independent, and honest.
As millions of Chinese are expected to travel during the Lunar New Year celebration, we know Los Angeles will be a top destination on their itineraries. In fact, we recently achieved a significant tourism milestone: Los Angeles welcomed one million Chinese visitors in 2016, becoming the first U.S. city destination to do so in tourism history.
Our number one source of overseas visitors, China is undeniably important to L.A.’s tourism industry. Not only has Chinese visitation increased by at least 20% for the past seven years, but they have become a driving force of visitor spend. Leading far and away among all our international markets, Chinese visitors injected $1.3 billion into our local economy in 2015.
L.A. Tourism continues to invest marketing resources in China including the expansion of our regional footprint. Chengdu will become our fourth full-time office when it opens by the end of June 2017, joining Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
And here at home, our “Nihao China” initiative has achieved tremendous success as more than 150 member businesses have participated in China-Ready programming during its three years. L.A. Tourism now has more than 50 designated China-Ready members that we work closely with to attract and serve our Chinese guests. Our esteemed partner and consultant China Luxury Advisors is a valuable resource.
China-Ready members have enjoyed access to receptive tour operator events and sales calls, opportunities to host FAM groups and continued in-market promotional efforts. This May, 10 China-Ready members will join our tourism delegation at ITB China, the premier marketplace for the travel industry.
If you are in search of a forthcoming training opportunity to help guide your China strategy, Visit California will hold a Globe Ready China seminar on Tuesday, March 28.
As we get closer to reaching our ambitious goal of attracting 50 million annual visitors by 2020, growing the Chinese visitor market is crucial to our success. I want to wish you all a joyful, healthy and prosperous Year of the Rooster.
Ernest Wooden Jr.
President and CEO,
Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board