Chinese travel to U.S. shrinks 4.7% in first nine months of 2019

Oct 25 (Reuters) - The number of Chinese travelers to the United States fell 4.7% in the first nine months of 2019 as a slowdown in the world’s second biggest economy spurred both business travelers and holidaymakers to stay at home, U.S. data showed on Friday.

The National Travel & Tourism Office, which works with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to release arrival data, said the number of business travelers had fallen 3.7% to 275,888 from the same period a year ago, while those traveling for leisure sank 6.5% to about 1.6 million.

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After growing around 25% annually for a decade, Chinese visitor numbers to the United States have been falling since 2017, with industry representatives pointing to a stronger dollar, China’s economic slowdown and trade tensions between the two countries as factors.

Beijing in June issued a travel advisory warning Chinese tourists about the risks of traveling to the United States, citing concerns about gun violence, robberies and thefts.

The Chinese government has since widened the alert to warn Chinese students and academics about the risks involved in studying in the United States.

Student travel continues to grow and gained 0.2% to 524,520 visitors in the period.

The average Chinese traveler to the United States spends $6,700, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel