Chinese, Spending Freely, Become Ever-Larger Tourism Force in New York
New York City’s tourism officials have solved the riddle of how to attract the Chinese. The challenge now may lie in impressing them once they arrive.
Chinese tourists, who have been flocking to New York in rising numbers for a decade, accounted for nearly one million of the record 60.3 million visitors to the city in 2016, city officials said. But some, like Li Chen, are far from awed by the scale of America’s biggest city.
Mr. Chen said he and the five friends he was sightseeing with on Friday expected New York to have taller buildings and wider streets. They were also disappointed that they could not get a look inside the New York Stock Exchange.
“We don’t want to just see the door,” Mr. Chen said through an interpreter while sipping hot tea on a cruise of New York Harbor operated by Hornblower New York. “Closing the door is like closing the door to prosperity.”
“我们不想只看看大门，”陈力通过翻译说，他正坐在霍恩布洛尔(Hornblower New York)经营的纽约港观光游轮上喝着热茶。“关着门就像是把繁荣关在了外边。”
Hornblower bills the tour as international, but the narration piped through the speakers is only in English and Mandarin. Visitors from China are easily the largest group of foreign tourists on Hornblower’s tours, said Zichao Xie, the company’s international sightseeing manager. Ms. Xie said the company carried about 300,000 Chinese passengers this year, accounting for about one-quarter of its revenue.
The Chinese surpassed Brazilians and Canadians in the ranks of tourists to the city this year and will overtake the British by 2022, said Fred Dixon, the chief executive of NYC & Company, the city’s tourism marketer.
负责扩展纽约市旅游业的NYC & Company公司的首席执行官弗雷德·迪克森(Fred Dixon)说，来纽约的外国游客国籍排名中，中国人今年超过了巴西人和加拿大人，并将在2022年超过英国人。
He said the city had more than 950,000 visitors from China this year, a sevenfold increase since 2007. Back then, more than 15 countries, including Switzerland and Israel, sent more tourists to New York than China did, according to NYC & Company’s statistics. In 2016, only visitors from Britain outnumbered the Chinese — and their total of about 1.2 million has not grown since 2007.
The Chinese still travel mostly in groups, moving around on chartered buses and often staying in hotels outside the city, Ms. Xie said. But Mr. Dixon said his organization had begun to focus on attracting more Chinese tourists traveling on their own or in small groups like Mr. Chen’s.
Those men flew from Shanghai with a larger group but broke off from it and were staying in a hotel in Lower Manhattan. They planned to go uptown to shop on Fifth Avenue, then head on Saturday to the Woodbury Common outlet mall, one of the most popular excursions for Chinese tourists, about 50 miles north of the city.
陈力和朋友们与一个更大的旅游团一起从上海飞到纽约，但到后就与该团分开行动，入住了曼哈顿下城的一家酒店。他们计划去上城的第五大道购物，然后周六去伍德伯里名牌折扣购物中心(Woodbury Common outlet mall)，这是最受中国游客欢迎的旅游目的地之一，在纽约市以北部约80公里的地方。
“That individual travel market is the biggest opportunity,” Mr. Dixon said. “That’s the future of the Chinese market.”
Emily Rafferty, chairwoman of NYC & Company, said she had recently attended a conference in Shenzhen, China, and met a group of local university students. “They were all wanting to come over to America,” Ms. Rafferty said. “The number of people under the age of 35 there is huge.”
At the Museum of Chinese in America, on Centre Street in Manhattan, the boom in Chinese tourism has not really paid off yet. The president of the museum, Nancy Yao Maasbach, said the tourists tended to stick to the best-known destinations.
对位于曼哈顿中心街的美国华人博物馆(Museum of Chinese in America)来说，中国游客人数的增长还没有带来真正的好处。博物馆馆长姚南薰(Nancy Yao Maasbach)说，中国游客倾向于只去更有名的景点。
“Our strategy has actually been that the more popular we become in the U.S., the more popular we will become to Chinese tourists,” Ms. Maasbach said.
Mr. Dixon said the Chinese were still spending freely, while visitors from Europe were cutting back as the dollar strengthened and reduced the buying power of the euro and other currencies. He said NYC & Company had begun emphasizing value and bargains in some of its advertising to the British and other Europeans, including a campaign this winter called “See It for Yourself,” in partnership with British Airways.
迪克森说，中国人花钱仍很大方，虽然随着美元走强、欧元和其他货币的购买力下降，来自欧洲的游客已在消减开支。他说，NYC & Company已在面向英国和其他欧洲国家的广告中强调物有所值和减价优惠，包括今年冬天与英国航空公司联合搞的名为“自己去看看”(See It for Yourself)的促销活动。
Those audiences might be easier to impress, judging by the reactions of Tony Neville and James Hopkinson, two first-time visitors from Yorkshire, England, who fit in some sightseeing on Friday after completing a work project. Mr. Neville, 36, said New York was bigger than he had imagined.
从两位来自英国约克郡的首次访客托尼·内维尔(Tony Neville)和詹姆斯·霍普金森(James Hopkinson)的反应来看，打动英国人也许更容易一些，这两人在周五完成了一个项目后，抽时间进行了观光。36岁的内维尔说，纽约比他想象的要大。
“This just blows London out of the water, to me,” he said.
Mr. Hopkinson said they had been surprised by how friendly, well mannered and courteous the local people they encountered had been. They even liked the American beers they had found, he said, sipping from a can of Brooklyn Lager.
Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor responsible for economic development, said Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration wanted to diversify the city’s tourist base so that it could weather economic downturns in Europe. Toward that end, the city increased its contribution to NYC & Company’s budget this year by $3.5 million, to about $21 million, she said.
负责经济发展的副市长艾丽西亚·格伦(Alicia Glen)说，市长白思豪(Bill de Blasio)的政府希望让纽约旅游业的大本营多样化，以便能度过欧洲的经济衰退。为了这个目的，纽约市政府今年对NYC & Company预算的贡献增加了350万美元，达到2100万美元，她说。
Promoting tourism is an investment aimed at attracting visitors to spend money and at creating jobs, especially for less-skilled workers, Ms. Glen said. She said she tried to help out last week when she was on a plane full of Chileans flying to New York from South America.
Ms. Glen said that the Chileans had been excited to visit the new Whitney Museum of American Art and to walk on the High Line in Manhattan, but that she had tried to persuade them to try the Brooklyn Museum, too.
“They used to go to Miami all the time,” she said of Chileans. “But Miami is so over.”