Visitors from China are flocking to the United States in greater numbers than ever before, whether for business, pleasure or education. Figures from the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce showed that visitors from mainland China in the first 10 months of 2011 increased to 36 percent year-on-year to 940,000, while the spend made by Chinese visitors in the U.S. in 2010 topped $5 billion.1
The increasing spends and traveling power of the growing Chinese middle class is raising the importance of culturally-specific communication materials for U.S. organizations. Tourism-based businesses need to produce communication materials in Chinese to cater to the high-spending Chinese travel trade. Even on the education front, it is ideal for the U.S. institutions to effectively appeal to the growing number of non-resident Chinese students enrolling in their programs.
According to USA TODAY, the landscape of Chinese businesses and tourism with the U.S. has changed dramatically since 2007, when China gave the U.S. an “approved destination” status on its tourism list. In 2012, President Obama announced measures to boost the capacity for issuing visas in China by 40 percent, attempting to address the problems with delays in getting visas for the U.S. that have been a common complaint from many Chinese tourists and travel executives. 2
Following this dramatic rise in bilateral business and travel between the U.S. and China, B2B Intelligence, a market research company, examined how the Chinese methods of business communication and propagation differs from the traditional Western methods.3 According to B2B Intelligence, trade fairs and marketing events are an even more crucial business tool in China than in the U.S. This is an indication that it is vital for U.S. companies seeking to capture Chinese businesses to make use of such events. Business materials and presentations used at events and tradeshows must be translated accurately and sensitive to the differing business sensibilities. According to Harrison and Headley, while coming to the U.S. has a growing appeal for Chinese business people, visitors still prefer to read in their native language and tailored specifically to them.
Euromonitor International stated that the U.S. remains the clear world leader in terms of tourism receipts.4 With the increasing number of Chinese tourists comprising a significant proportion of those high-spending tourists, businesses ranging from travel agents, hotels, restaurants and even historic memorials, must focus on engaging Chinese visitors and which in turn will help strengthen their brand.
Tourism impact on education
The lucrative U.S. education sector is also making significant amendments to cater to the influx of Chinese students. According to the Institute of International Education there were 723,000 Chinese students enrolled in U.S. higher education institutes in the 2010-11 academic year. The international enrolment was predominantly by young adults from China at top Ivy League Schools, including Harvard, Yale and Princeton.5
In addition, Bloomberg Media research recognized that the U.S. is taking clear steps to open up communication channels with Chinese competitors and colleagues. It also reported that 7,970 individuals took AP Chinese which has more than doubled since it was first introduced in 2008.6
Role of translations in the travel industry
In general, the travel and tourism industry generates many direct and indirect benefits that are widely distributed within the national economies. As Chinese tourists come to the U.S. in record numbers, along with it comes growth and new opportunities. In order to effectively compete and increase business, companies require up front investments in a well-designed and professionally translated marketing, communication and promotion campaigns that tend to generate additional visitation and spending that far outweigh the initial costs.
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