The approximately 2.2 million Chinese travelers who visited the United States last year spent more than $23 billion, making China the second-biggest source of foreign-tourist spending within the U.S., a new report says.
Nine out of 10 Chinese tourists in the U.S. shopped in the country, spending an average of $10,800.
The U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office released the 2014 International Visitation to the United States Report on Monday. The report said 74.8 million tourists visited the U.S. and spent a combined $220.6 billion to get to the country and on purchases there.
Canada was No 1 in both the number of visitors as well as purchases. However, Canadian tourists, more than 10 times the number of Chinese tourists, spent only $3.4 billion more than the Chinese.
Chinese tourists lead the world in the number of international tourists and money spent abroad. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, China now has the largest outbound-tourism market, and the Chinese are the biggest spenders among global tourists.
The number of Chinese outbound tourists was a staggering 116 million last year, an increase of 17.8 percent over the previous year, the China Tourism Academy said.
Last year, Chinese tourists spent $140 billion, up 18 percent from 2013, according to the academy.
The academy said it is relatively optimistic about the tourism economy this year, predicting that China will see 135 million outbound journeys.
Zhang Guangrui, honorary director of the Tourism Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China's growing middle class and the simplified visa procedures in certain countries have helped to boost spending overseas, especially in the U.S..
According to the Chinese Luxury Traveler 2015 by Hurun Report and ILTM Asia, 65 percent of China's outbound travelers were "super travelers" - high net-worth individuals - who all increased their travel days as well as the amount they spent.
On average, they increased their travel days during the past year from 18 to 20. The U.S. has been the super travelers' second-most-popular destination for the past three years.
However, Zhao Ping, a leading researcher at the Ministry of Commerce, said the growth rate of outbound visitors and overseas consumption this year will be lower than last year.
"The slowing GDP growth as well as the appreciated U.S. dollar will challenge the consumption capability of Chinese tourists in the United States," said Zhao. "In China, certain areas are looking into building more tax-free areas, which would help Chinese to buy more tax-free products within China."