In recent years, the Chinese have been among the fastest-growing groups of international tourists visiting the United States. And now extended visas for short-term tourist and business travel between the U.S. and China make visiting America easier than ever.
“The new policy is a gesture of welcome to the people of China,” said Haybina Hao of the National Tour Association, an organization of U.S. tour operators. “We expect many Chinese to take advantage of the extended visas to come for both business and for fun.”
The association surveyed its 190 groups that guide tours specifically for Chinese visitors and identified these landmarks as the destinations most desired by Chinese tourists:
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park has the world’s largest concentration of geysers, as well as breathtaking land formations and the largest super volcano on the North American continent. It was the world’s first national park and covers 8,983 square kilometers in the state of Wyoming.
Southern California is the gateway to the U.S. for most Chinese visitors and home to the world’s most-visited theme park, Disneyland. Its center was personally designed by Walt Disney, the creator of character Mickey Mouse and founder of a movie empire. Courageous visitors make a point of riding all four of Disneyland’s mountain-themed roller coasters.
Statue of Liberty
As national symbols go, they don’t get more iconic than the Statue of Liberty. The iron and copper landmark was a gift to the United States from the people of France. Make reservations far in advance if you want to see the view from Lady Liberty’s crown. Tourists have not been allowed to climb to the torch balcony since 1916, but a webcam installed in 2011 enables them to see the view indirectly.
The Grand Canyon
Seventeen million years in the making, the Grand Canyon is big in every way. A U-shaped cantilevered glass skywalk extending 21 meters past the rim of the canyon is its most popular attraction.
A father-son team chiseled the faces of four U.S. presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt) into the granite of a mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It took 12 years. The memorial attracts 2 million visitors annually, and its iconic faces have been used in movies, stamps and coins.