Category Archives: California

Los Angeles hotels start to market themselves to Chinese tourists

The Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide have decided to market their venues to Chinese travelers with the comfort of home.
Both hotels plan to have on staff one Chinese–speaking employee, a tea kettle and slippers in each room, and traditional Chinese breakfast items such as congee known as rice pudding.
And don’t forget the chopsticks!
This new plan was unveiled this week by both hotel chains in hopes to appear to Chinese visitors in the U.S..
Chinese mainland visitors has more than tripled since 2000 and is expected to triple again by 2015.
The Hilton Los Angeles/San Gabriel has already been catering to Chinese visitors earlier this year for three months and the program will continue since approximately 30 – 40 percent of hotel guests are Chinese.
“This will definitely draw more tourists from China,” said Tan Yejun, a businessman from Shandong who was at the Hilton hotel in San Gabriel this week to consider investment opportunities in Southern California. He said the most difficult part about visiting the U.S. is finding locals who speak Chinese, requoted from a Los Angeles Times article.
To make Chinese visitors feel welcome, Hilton Hotels will offer welcome letters in Chinese and television sets will include Chinese language channels. Starwood Hotels will translate a packet of local area information for shopping and sightseeing into Chinese for visitors.
Chinese travelers are the fastest–growing foreign group to visit the U.S. and they also the biggest spenders.

According to Paul Martin, Editor in Chief of  The New Chinese Tourist, a specialized publication about marketing to affluent Chinese outbound tourists, ” Marketing to Chinese tourists is not that easy. Just adding kettles and Chinese tea in rooms of Chinese guests is not enough. US hotels chains like Hilton must learn how to deeply understand how Chinese guests think, what they really like, apart from “clichés” about Chinese tea. They still have a lot to do, in particular with a smarter strategy on Chinese social media to appeal to Chinese visitors when they are planning their trip to the US”
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, Chinese visitors spent an average of $6,243 per person per visit including airfare last year.
Chester Chong, president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles called the hotel’s plans “very, very smart” regarding interpreters at the hotels because Chinese businessman visit the U.S. nervous regarding the language barrier.
“It makes me feel more comfortable that the employees and even the waitress speaks Chinese,” said Ji Wei Ping, a visitor from Shanghai who was speaking through a hotel interpreter.
Starwood Hotels operate 1,051 hotels worldwide and 75 hotels in China because it has become the fastest–growing hotel market. The company has approximately 100 more under construction and will open a new hotel every two weeks in China.
Hilton Hotels will be debuting the program at 43 of the Hilton brand’s 540 hotels and at four other affiliated hotels starting August 16. The hotels will include the Hilton Los Angeles and the Hilton Anaheim.
Since the Hilton Los Angeles/San Gabriel was launched, hotel’s general manager Carl Bolte said the food, slippers and other extras have won favorable reviews from Chinese guests.
Los Angeles is the second most popular travel stop in the U.S. for Chinese visitors. New York is the number one tourist destination for Chinese tourists.

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Bloomberg TV: Wealthy Chinese Boom in Orange County, CA

Bloomberg TV’s Cali Carlin reports on China’s growing crop of millionaires eying greener pastures in the United States. Their motives range from escaping the one child policy to wealth security and better food safety standards. However, as Bloomberg TV reporters, the top concern is their children’s education.

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Beverly Hills CVB welcomes Chinese travel agents

The Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau (BHCVB) hosted an educational tour through the City to promote tourism to business representatives with interests based in Shanghai last Friday.
The tour was conducted with the intention of bringing the travel trade to Beverly Hills now that American Airlines has launched a new daily service
from Shanghai’s Pudong Airport to LAX, said BHCVB Business Development Director Stephanie Nakasone.
“There are major companies based in Shanghai with a large clientele we would like to welcome here,” she said. “When they (the tour group members) go home, they can pitch Beverly Hills to their clients.”

After a welcoming introduction to Beverly Hills, the group of travel trade management staff from Shanghai’s top tour operators set off on foot towards The Beverly Wilshire and then continued on to Montage Beverly Hills.
These destinations were chosen to highlight accommodations, dining, event space and VIP services available to Beverly Hills’ visitors, Nakasone stated.

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More Chinese tourists in California

The statistics released by the California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC) shows the number of tourists to California from Chinese mainland has witnessed a rapid increase in recent years and they preferred to shopping during the travel.

Caroline Beteta, chief executive of the CTTC, said there are some 250,000 to 300,000 Chinese mainland tourists to California every year and the number saw a double-digit growth rate. It is expected such growth will keep in the coming five years.

The CTTC opened tourism promoting offices in Shanghai and Beijing one year ago, said Caroline, and China is the world’s fastest-growing country in the number of outbound tourists.

In addition, Carol Martinez, spokesperson from Los Angeles Convention and Visitor Authority said Chinese mainland is the Los Angeles’ important tourism market and many tourism attractions in the city have set up Chinese boarding service.

Pierre Gervois, CEO of China Elite Focus, a Destination Marketing agency based in Shanghai, said that “The new generation of Chinese tourists coming to California is interested in shopping, Golf, and more and more by wine tourism. California wine is a big asset for the state”.

Kathryn Smits, director of Beverly Hill Conference and Visitors Authority said she contacted many Chinese tourists and their consumption is characterized by shopping.

“They prefer to buy expensive luxury goods, but they also like to buy some useful items, such as vitamin tablets, and others,” said Kathryn.

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Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau launches a direct email marketing campaign targeting affluent Chinese travelers

The Los Angeles Tourism Office in Beijing is very active to attract affluent Chinese travelers and has chosen to use the email marketing media in january 2009 to target affluent Chinese travelers. They received an email about all the wonderful activities that tourists can enjoy in LA.

“China is the fastest growing international visitor market to LA and we are working to ensure visitors from China understand how important they are to our great city,” says Liberman, Chairman of LA, INC. “The entire world has its eyes on China and we are proud to be the first city in the world to establish a permanent tourism office there.”
The office promotes tourism and travel opportunities as part of ongoing efforts to prepare for the projected increase in Chinese citizens traveling to Los Angeles in the coming years.

As home to the second largest Chinese-American community in the United States, Los Angeles can expect to receive a significant number of visiting friends and relatives. It is estimated that 176 million residents of China have the financial means to travel and it is expected that this number will increase by 70 million by 2012.
With 19 weekly nonstop flights from China to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), 360,000 passengers will have the ability to visit LA annually. LAX is the only U.S. airport serviced by all three national Chinese airlines – Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines.

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Sacramento region expects surge in Chinese tourists in 2009

Relaxed travel rules between the United States and China have opened the door to Chinese tour groups for the first time.
The new rules could mean tens of millions of dollars for Northern California, a gateway for Chinese coming to America ever since the Gold Rush.
Before the new rules, Chinese were allowed to visit the United States only on business, to see relatives or by special invitation from universities or other public institutions. Under a U.S.-China agreement reached in  last December, Chinese tourists can now come on organized trips to the United States just for leisure.
Last year,  40 million Chinese tourists traveled abroad, but only 300,000 came to the United States because of the old visa restrictions, said Defa Tong, spokesman for the People’s Republic of China’s Consulate General in San Francisco.

That number is expected to double in the next several years, and with the average tourist spending $198 a day in the United States, Tong said. “It’s a huge market.”
The new Chinese tourists could spend as much as $60 million a year in Sacramento alone, according to data provided by the U.S. Commerce Department and the California Department of Tourism.
Northern California, home to 500,000 Chinese Americans, will likely be a first stop for many of them as it has been for generations.

By the 1940s, about 3,000 Chinese farmers and factory workers lived around Locke, which had fish markets, herb shops, casinos, boarding houses and the Star Theatre.
By the 1990s, Locke was nearly a ghost town until Shanghai painter Ning Hou breathed new life into its rickety streets with his gallery and art school.
But Locke – for all its history and charm – isn’t enough for Sacramento to take advantage of the growing tourist market, Yee said.
Yee is leading the charge for the “Yee Fow Center for History, Culture and Trade,” which would be located not far from the site of Sacramento’s original Chinatown.
“We don’t really have a place we can bring Chinese tourists unless you take them to Locke,” said Pat Fong-Kushida, president of the 700-member Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce.
Yee, Fong-Kushida and other Asian Americans are hoping a new 240-acre development planned for the railyard will include a center honoring Chinese contributions to California.

Still, Sacramento could easily draw 10,000 to 20,000 new Chinese tourists in the next year, said Richard Champley, senior research analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“They may want to come and see the governor,” said Champley.

His agency figures that Chinese visitors typically spend “in the neighborhood of $6,000 per visitor per trip, including $3,000-$4,000 a person on hotels, food and rental cars.”

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