Weak yuan and visa policy impact Chinese travellers choice

According to an article in Jing Travel the US experienced a 6% dip of Chinese visitors in 2018, the first decrease in 15 years. It suggests the reasons for the decline pre-date the current trade war tensions between the two countries.

The article says that while the current anti-USA sentiment pushed in the Chinese state media and government travel warnings citing American “shootings, robberies and thefts” certainly encourage Chinese mainlanders to reconsider stateside vacations, it is the US’s increasingly stringent visa policy and the weakening position of the yuan against the dollar are far more dissuasive.

The article states that the rejection rate for Chinese tourist visa applications has risen steadily over the past five years and reached 17% in 2018, the highest level since 2012. Chinese travellers, it says, are keenly aware of this policy shift and are reacting accordingly with fewer and fewer applications. It says that America’s US$160 visa fee, charged irrespective of an application’s success, becomes all the more unappealing.

This is also coming at a time when many other countries are lowering their visa requirements to attract outbound Chinese tourists.

The article concludes that the US might have more success prioritising highly affluent Chinese travellers, rather than the more cost conscious market.