This group of tourists from China taking in the sights of the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall National Memorial could be the vanguard of a new wave of Chinese tourists the U.S. hopes to welcome in coming months.
Chinese travelers, already among the fastest-growing groups of international visitors to the United States, are poised to make an even bigger impact thanks to a rule change that allows visitors to get visas valid for 10 years.
Stefan Selig, the U.S. under secretary of commerce, said January 20 that the continued growth of the U.S. travel and tourism industry is drawing the United States “closer to President Obama’s goal of welcoming 100 million international visitors” by the end of 2021.
Obama announced a reciprocal visa validity arrangement with China in November 2014 to attract more Chinese visitors. Both countries agreed to increase the validity of short-term tourist and business visas to 10 years — the longest period possible under U.S. law.
As a result of the change, the United States hopes to welcome a growing share of Chinese travelers and strengthen economic and people-to-people ties. Commerce Department projections suggest as many as 7.3 million Chinese travelers will come to the United States by 2021.