BATON ROUGE, La. – After the Lt. Governor’s successful sales mission to China in September, Brand USA – the national U.S. tourism promotion agency – sent a team of Chinese tour operators to Louisiana on an educational familiarization tour. Tour operators visited October 27-30 and experienced some of the sights and sounds of Louisiana which would appeal to Chinese visitors.
“This recent Louisiana trip by top Chinese tour operators pushes forward the momentum we built last September during our tourism mission to China,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, who was the highest ranking U.S. elected official at the China-U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit in Hangzhou. “Our visits to Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou put us face-to-face with influential tourism leaders. I expect more positive results and more Chinese travelers in the future.”
Product Managers of ten important outbound Chinese tour companies attended, along with Brand USA’s head of sales for all of Southeast Asia and its China-based salesperson, plus United Airlines staff that market flights from China to the United States.
The delegation enjoyed visits to the Acadiana region, Plantation Country, and New Orleans. They also participated in iconic Louisiana experiences, such as Cajun Food Tours, Randol’s Dance Hall, Vermilionville and Martin Accordions in Lafayette; the TABASCO® Factory Tour in Avery Island; Atchafalaya Basin Airboat Tours in Henderson; Houmas House Plantation and Gardens in Darrow; and Tanger Factory Outlet in Gonzales. The trip also included a tour and overnight stay in New Orleans.
After their familiarization tour, the delegation flew to Washington, D.C., and gave a presentation of their Louisiana: Feed Your Soul trip to five other groups of Chinese tour operators who visited other states as part of the entire Brand USA sales mission program.
Two items of note Lt. Governor Nungesser believes will draw Chinese tourists include the “Lights. Camera. Louisiana” film trail, as well as the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum in Monroe. General Claire Chennault is best known for his leadership of the “Flying Tigers” and the Republic of China Air Force during WWII and is considered a national hero in China.
According to the most recent statistics from the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), China is the fifth-largest international market in terms of visitation to the United States and represents the number one market for spending – totaling $33 billion dollars.
The outbound tourism market is growing with travel-hungry millennials fresh from university and eager to explore. By 2020, 234 million Chinese tourists—twice the current number—are expected to explore globally.
Photo: Chinese tour operators, Brand USA and United Airlines staff, along with Vice President of Tourism Sales Eugenie Mitchell with Lafayette Travel (third from left) at TABASCO® Country Store.