Over the past few years California has had a huge spike in tourists from China – especially in Los Angeles. According to the LA Economic Development Corporation, the rates over the past years for LA have quadrupled since 2009 when there were only approximately 158,000 Chinese visitors. In 2012 the number of tourists reached 570,000 . A few years ago China was not even among the ten largest sources of foreign travelers into LA, now it is number one. Almost half of all Chinese coming to the United States stopover in California and almost 75 % of them go through Los Angeles County.
According to the L.A board of tourists, Chinese tourists spent $655 million in LA in 2012, up from $450 million in 2011 . Each visitor spent $1,392 per journey on average, almost $300 above the budget of all other overseas travelers. That is a substantial difference, especially taking into account that the Economic Development Corporation expects LA to see as many as two million Chinese tourists annually by 2020.
The local Chinese population in Los Angeles is the largest of any county in the United States. Rising nearly 15% from 2008 to 413,000 residents in 2012. One of many reasons for this surge in tourism and as well as permanent relocation are the availability of high quality education institutions in LA and the surrounding regions. The University of Southern California has the most Chinese enrollees in the nation, followed by UCLA. There are over 10,000 Chinese students in local universities in LA County, the largest in the nation and over triple the number of students in 2009 at just 3,000. Having all of these students creates opportunities for families to come visit, spiking the number of Chinese tourists even more than is already being received in California.
Another reason for increases in tourism and arguably the most important is thriving trade with the People’s Republic of China. The district of Los Angeles Customs had record trade volumes and was estimated at value of $414.5 billion last year, $221.4 billion of which was directly with China. The amount of Chinese owned businesses in the county increased nearly two-fold in six years to 254. Many are retail trade businesses, warehouses, wholesale corporations and transportation firms. But major companies such as the Bank of China, China Telecom, and a Cathay Pacific Airlines do considerable business in Southland as well.
All of this means a very bright future for the relationships between China, California, and Los Angeles County in particular. LA County will continue to play a vital role in the greater US economy as California and Los Angeles are in extremely favorable positions to benefit from China’s sustained economic rise as the gateway of choice for Chinese travelers to the United States.
Learn more in our Global Ready China Seminars
- Chinese Tourism & Investment surges in LA @ LA Times (2014)
- Chinese Tourism to LA quadruples @ LA Times (2014)
- Report: Growing Together – China and LA County @ LA County Economic Development Corporation (2014)