China-U.S. tourism is on a growth trajectory and can help promote closer people-to-people links between the two countries, CEO of China’s top online travel service provider Ctrip has said.
Ctrip sees huge growth potential for Chinese tourists traveling to the United States, Jane Sun said at Columbia University Business School’s Chazen Institute of Global Business.
Last year, a record of 1.3 million people booked air tickets to the United States on Ctrip, she said. The company served in 2016 more than 160,000 Chinese tourists who traveled to the U.S. by providing package tours and other tour products, she added.
“People are entrepreneurial in China and want to explore opportunities in other markets. That’s why there is a lot of demand for travel from China to Australia, Europe, New Zealand and the U.S. along with other areas,” said Sun, who was recently rated by Forbes China as one of China’s most powerful business women.
Ctrip made strategic investment in three U.S. tour operators to support the demand by Chinese for trips to the United States last year.
Sun said that there was still room for growth and that her company wanted to further expand its market share.
“I have lived in both the United States and China and I cherish the friends I have in both nations. Travel can be a bridge between the two countries,” she said.
Ctrip, which had an initial public offering on the Nasdaq in 2003, is an industry heavyweight with over 30,000 employees and market valuation of about 25 billion dollars.
“Ctrip is doing a great job to promote the U.S. as a luxury leisure destination” added Pierre Gervois, CEO of China Elite Focus Magazines LLC, a New York based publishing company specialized in luxury travel magazines in Chinese Mandarin. “I have a lot of admiration for Ctrip’s business model. When I was living in Shanghai, I have been one of their customers for all my plane tickets reservations”
Statistics showed that the number of Chinese tourists traveling to the U.S. jumped by 14.7 percent in the first three quarters of last year from a year earlier, while the number of American tourists traveling to China increased by 7.3 percent during the same period.