Chinese Tourists in the U.S. (Photo : Getty Images)
China-U.S. tourism is predicted to make a huge growth, which will enhance connections between people of the two countries, according to Jane Sun, CEO of China's leading online travel service provider Ctrip, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Speaking at Columbia University Business School's Chazen Institute of Global Business event in New York recently, Sun said that more Chinese tourists are expected to travel to the United States.
Sun added that in 2016, Ctrip helped about 1.3 million people booked air tickets to the U.S. More than 160,000 Chinese tourists who traveled to the U.S. also availed of the company's package tours and other tour services.
"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," Sun said.
Last year, the company partnered with three U.S. tour operators to meet the rising demand of Chinese travelers to the United States.
Sun, ranked by Forbes China as one of the country's most powerful businesswomen, said that her company plans to further expand to get its share in the market.
"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," Sun said.
In 2003, Ctrip made its initial public offering on the NASDAQ. It has a market valuation of about $25 billion and employs more than 30,000 employees.
According to data, the number of Chinese tourists traveling to the U.S. increased by 14.7 percent in the first three quarters of 2016, from a year earlier. Conversely, the number of American tourists traveling to China rose by 7.3 percent during the same period.
The U.S. is targeting to achieve its goal to receive around 100 million international visitors by the end of 2021, as part of the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Strategy.
The U.S. looks to China as one of the largest source on travel and tourism. In 2014, Chinese tourists spent about $24 billion travel to U.S. cities, parks and other destinations.
Last year, President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Obama declared 2016 as the U.S.-China Tourism Year, to promote the trend.