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U.S. tourism expert calls for more flights, easier visas for Chinese visitors

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U.S. tourism expert calls for more flights, easier visas for Chinese visitors

2024-05-24 22:05 Last Updated At:22:57

A U.S. tourism expert called for more flights and service upgrades to bolster people-to-people exchanges between China and the U.S., while speaking on the sidelines of the 14th China-U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit.

The summit was held in Xi'an City of northwest China's Shaanxi Province on Wednesday, with the theme "Expanding China-U.S. Travel and Tourism and People-to-people Exchanges."

In an interview with China Global Television Network (CGTN), Todd Davidson, Board Chair of Brand USA, a co-organizer of the summit, shared his thoughts on the main challenges affecting tourism between China and the U.S.

"Obviously, transportation comes to mind. We are still only back to roughly one third, maybe 20 percent to one third of the flights are back. So that makes it more expensive. It makes it more difficult. The quicker we're able to restore air service to the pre-pandemic levels, I think the easier it will be for travel to occur. I'm optimistic but concerned that we're coming up on the anniversary of 10-year visa validity. So that means there'll be demand on our state department to process those visas. And we're hoping that can be done in a manner that's very efficient and very expeditious. So again, it facilitates travel. It makes it easy and seamless for folks to be able to travel between the two countries," said Davidson.

Davidson emphasized that Chinese tourists are critical to the future growth of the U.S. tourism industry.

"They often say that we won't do business with people we don't know. And the way we get to know people is we travel to meet them, face to face. Once those relationships have been built, and the confidence is there and the trust is there, then we are able to talk about business. We can talk about growing trade and looking at our imports and our exports and the other facets of our economy. So, my being here is simply to share a message with the Chinese government: I care. I'm here because I care and that the U.S. travel and tourism industry will not fully recover until Chinese visitation to the U.S. fully recovers. We need one another in this relationship," he said.

He advocated for exchanges between Chinese and American students as a way to foster better mutual understanding.

"I think one of the areas that we have the greatest opportunity to really capitalize on cultural exchange and people-to-people exchanges is in working with student groups. And they were able to be exposed to different cultures, different ways of life, different ways of thinking than what we may grow up with in the U.S. So, I know there's power in that, and I think the more we can do to grow those exchanges, especially educational exchanges, cultural exchanges, is going to be a powerful motivator for growing the relationship between the two countries," Davidson said.

U.S. tourism expert calls for more flights, easier visas for Chinese visitors

U.S. tourism expert calls for more flights, easier visas for Chinese visitors

China's railways carried a total of 337 million tons of freight in May this year, up 2.8 percent year on year, with demand for coal-driven electricity as a driving force behind the movement.

The month saw nearly 71 million tons of freight transported by containers, up 20 percent year on year, according to statistics from China Railway.

According to China Railway, demand for electricity as summer approaches is keeping the railway system at high capacity. To support coal transportation of coal within the country and the export of Xinjiang coal, the average daily loading of coal on railways nationwide remained above 80,000 wagons and 55,000 wagons, respectively.

In international freight transport, China sent a total of 1,724 freight trains to Europe in May, sending 186,000 twenty-foot equivalent units of cargo, up 14 percent and 13 percent respectively year on year, setting a record for transport volume in a single month.

The China-Laos Railway carried 473,000 tons of cargo across the border in the month, up 16.2 percent year-on-year, along with a surge in fruit and vegetables transported to and from Southeast Asia.

China continues to promote its campaign to shift road freight to rail. Ports across the country are improving ship-to-train transshipment solutions with an average of 33,600 wagons transshipped per day, up 15.4 percent year-on-year.

China's freight trains carry 337 million tons in May, with container traffic grows quickly

China's freight trains carry 337 million tons in May, with container traffic grows quickly

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