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As Chinese tourism growth to the United States hit 14.7% in the first three quarters of 2016, the results of a new survey find that New York is the most “relevant” US destination for visitors from China as they are attracted for both fun and practical reasons.

The recently released “City Relevance” report by consulting firm RTG named New York number one after a survey of 1,000 middle- and upper-class Chinese travelers on their favorite US destinations. The survey questions were based on 10 key tourism attributes such as food, shopping, entertainment, and culture, which were used to ascertain how “relevant” each destination was to Chinese tourists. The top 10 cities are listed below in order:

  1. New York
  2. Maui
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Las Vegas
  5. San Francisco
  6. Seattle
  7. Washington, DC
  8. Chicago
  9. Boston
  10. Miami

With its wide offering of museums, boutiques, restaurants, and landmarks, New York dominated the list thanks to its standout position as number one in six of the 10 categories: “infrastructure and facilities,” “food and beverage,” “accommodation and service,” “culture, art, and heritage,” “shopping,” and “attractions and landmarks.”

While a trip to see the Metropolitan Museum of Art or hit Fifth Avenue for a shopping spree are big draws for Chinese tourists, their main travel concerns are a bit more practical: out of the attributes considered the most attractive about New York, its infrastructure gained the most interest with 86 percent of respondents listing it. This was followed closely by food and accommodation, which each earned praise from 85 percent of respondents.


In contrast to New York’s wide range of attractive attributes, most of the additional cities on the list had only one or two key areas standing out as a key draw for Chinese travelers. For third-place Los Angeles, shopping was its biggest asset, while Las Vegas dominates as the top city for entertainment. Even second-place Maui was top in only two categories: natural landscape (which was far down on the list for New York), and value for money.


“When travelers are planning for an upcoming trip, the process for selecting a destination has many similarities to choosing a consumer brand for purchase,” says RTG Consulting Group CEO Angelito Tan Jr about the findings, who adds that they are relevant to “city tourism, as well as retail brands, looking to attract the more discerning Chinese traveler.”

This article was originally published on Jing Daily

Liz Flora

Liz Flora is the Editor-in-Chief of Jing Daily. Prior to joining Jing Daily in 2013, Liz worked at Asia Society, where she contributed to the Asia Blog in the fields of arts, business, policy, and culture. Her work has also been published in The Atlantic, Roads and Kingdoms, Slate, Foreign Policy, Business of Fashion, artnet News, Skift, and Hyphen. Liz is based in Beijing.

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