Chinese tourism to the U.S. — already lagging due to political tensions and the strong dollar — will take another hit this year as the coronavirus outbreak restricts travel.Tourism Economics, a data and consulting firm, predicts a 28% decline in
Chinese visitors to the U.S. this year, to around 2 million. That would be a
six-year low, down from an estimated 2.8 million last year.
Delta, American and United airlines all suspended flights between the U.S.and mainland China last week.
Tourism Economics bases its prediction on the impact of the SARS virus in 2003, which caused a 30% drop in Chinese tourism to the U.S. This time, the economic impact could be much greater. In 2002, Chinese tourists spent around $1.2 billion on U.S. travel and
transportation on U.S. airlines, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. Last year, that total had ballooned to $34 billion. Tourism Economics says a recovery in travel from China could begin later this year. But using SARS as a guide, it could take four years for Chinese tourism to recover topredicted levels.