The U.S. state of Florida is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, but tourism has historically not included many Asians, until recently. A new marketing campaign is welcoming thousands from Asia, particularly China, to enjoy warm weather and the state’s the unique Latin flare.
Tourism officials have launched ad campaigns to lure visitors to Florida. One tour operator also credits a change several years ago in the granting of visas between the United States and China, allowing Chinese tourists to stay longer and come more often.
At Cuba Tobacco Cigar in Miami’s Little Havana, workers are learning to say basic words in Mandarin while Chinese tourists get a chance to see how cigars are made and learn a little bit of Cuban culture.
“They are very generous, so not only do they purchase cigars for themselves, but also to take back home as gifts. 21642 It has made a big difference, we are very pleased with the Chinese tourists in Little Havana,” CEO of Cuba Tobacco Cigar Peter Bello said.
Cross Culture Tours established shop in South Florida five years ago. The first year, they only had 100 customers, but that soon changed.
“It’s been three years, every year the members increased more than 200 percent per year. So last year, 2015, we took care of almost 10-thousand customers and 90 percent of them come from mainland China,” Cross Culture Tours Operation Manager Shirley Liu said.
Tourists are also visit the Everglades, go on boat tours, and shop in South Beach.
“The people here, people are really nice. That’s what my mom always says. Second here, the environment is very comfortable, the culture here is really fantastic,” Amy Wang, a tourist from China, said.
More than a quarter million Chinese tourists visited Florida in 2014 and many of them today are repeat visitors such as Qing Lan, who loves to dance and is already improving her salsa moves.