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A Statement of Purpose in Support of the U.S.–China Tourism Year

On September 25, 2015, the United States and China announced an agreement for each country to participate in a year of tourism cooperation.

The U.S.–China Tourism Year, which will be led by the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), is designed to effectively position the United States and China for increased trade in travel services by focusing on three mutually beneficial areas:

  • Enhanced travel and tourism experiences
  • Enhanced cultural understanding
  • Enhanced appreciation of natural resources

The Tourism Year builds upon the momentum of the 2016–2017 Work Plan of the U.S.–China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade Tourism Working Group (signed September 10, 2015), as well as the opportunity created by the reciprocal extension of short-term tourist and business visas issued to each other’s citizens from one to ten years (effective November 12, 2014). These agreements, as well as our mutual recognition of the value of travel and tourism as an engine for economic growth and a model for cooperation, position the United States and China to further realize the benefits of bilateral travel exchange. Therefore, to effectively support the U.S.–China Tourism Year, our plan will include the following principal elements:

Promote and Ensure Quality Travel Experiences

The DOC and CNTA will work to enhance travel experiences for U.S. visitors to China and Chinese visitors to the United States by:

  • Developing and deploying programs that focus on new and better travel itineraries;
  • Sharing best practices to improve the visitor experience by hosting relevant workshops at various international travel trade shows in the United States and China;
  • Working with relevant authorities to improve signage and other translation and interpretation to benefit travelers; and
  • Communicating travel and entry requirements to the U.S. and Chinese travel industry and making information accessible to travelers.

Expand Cultural Understanding

The DOC and CNTA will work to position our respective countries to better attract and welcome each other’s visitors by:

  • Promoting training in international arrival halls to enhance understanding of cross-cultural issues;
  • Promoting training of personnel at hotels, attractions, airlines, and car hire companies, as well as tour operators, travel agents, and receptive tour operators;
  • Participating in cultural exchanges during workshops and meetings to be held in conjunction with international travel trade shows in the United States and China; and
  • Working to communicate the needs and preferences of U.S. and Chinese visitors to industry and government.

Build Upon Appreciation of Natural Resources

The DOC and CNTA will create programs and initiatives that increase visitor interest and traffic to natural resource sites and leverage these sites as tourism assets for both countries by:

  • Hosting events that help promote the giant-screen film celebrating the Centennial of the U.S. National Park Service during 2016; and
  • Seeking opportunities to promote visitation and appreciation of special natural environments, such as national, regional or provincial parks and managed areas.

Recognize and Leverage the Successful Collaboration of the Public Sector and Industry

The DOC and CNTA will endeavor to engage industry in various aspects of the U.S.–China Tourism Year—recognizing that one of the most critical components of the United States’ National Travel and Tourism Strategy is the relationship of the U.S. Federal government and its travel and tourism industry partners such as Brand USA. Therefore, as appropriate to furthering the goals of the U.S.–China Tourism Year, the DOC will:

  • Leverage and incorporate the China-focused marketing efforts of Brand USA and industry into its overall efforts during the Year, including those directly led by Brand USA and/or other industry partners, as well as those jointly developed and deployed by the DOC with Brand USA and industry support.
  • Work with Brand USA and industry to develop the appropriate messaging and resources to support the U.S.–China Tourism Year.

Benefit the Entirety of the United States to, through, and beyond the Gateways

DOC will work to ensure access and benefit to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five territories to participate in and support the U.S.–China Tourism Year. To this end, DOC will work with Brand USA and industry to provide the strategic direction and resources to destination marketing organizations and travel brands that will help them promote, engage in and support the Tourism Year in ways that are mutually beneficial to them and other participants. In addition to pursuing the initiatives and programs generally described above, DOC (in conjunction with industry) will develop a Tourism Year logo and related tools for U.S. destinations to help promote and participate in theTourism Year. DOC and CNTA will coordinate on a launch event that signifies the official start of the Tourism Year and a significant closing event that appropriately recognizes the culmination of the Year’s activities. These events will be augmented by a reciprocal series of smaller-scale marketing promotions, educational efforts, and events hosted by the DOC and CNTA in our respective countries during the Year. While specific objectives, goals, strategies and measures will be developed by the respective working groups for the United States and China, to successfully realize the purpose of the Tourism Year, these programmatic elements define the broad categories of the initiatives we will develop and launch over the course of the year. As we track our progress in pursuit of these efforts, the true measure of our success will be the degree by which we build mutual cultural understanding, demand for visas between China and the United States continues to grow, intent to visit each other’s countries rises, and customer satisfaction among international travelers between the United States and China strengthens.

DOC and CNTA understand that the implementation of the Tourism Year is subject to the laws and regulations of each country and to the availability of appropriated funds, resources and personnel. Either DOC or CNTA may discontinue cooperation related to the U.S. – China Tourism Year at any time, but should endeavor to give at least three months’ prior written notice of discontinuation to the other. This statement of purpose does not constitute an international agreement and does not establish rights and obligations governed by international or domestic law.

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Key Contacts

Aaron Wodin-Schwartz

Brand USA


Aaron Wodin-Schwartz is director, public policy for Brand USA, the public-private partnership responsible for launching the United States’ first-ever nationally coordinated tourism marketing effort. In this role, Aaron is responsible for working with Federal partners and key industry groups to ensure productive implementation of the Travel Promotion Act, communicate U.S. entry policy, and develop collaborative opportunities to promote inbound travel to the United States. At Brand USA, Aaron has established a variety of programs with Federal agencies to highlight and promote the campaign through Federal channels around the world and to integrate travel policy information and Federal territories into the campaign.

Aaron joined Brand USA in November 2011, bringing significant public policy and government experience to the Brand USA team. From 2009 through 2011, as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Department of Commerce, Aaron served as policy advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services where, among other things, he worked on implementation of the Travel Promotion Act. While at the Department of Commerce, Aaron also worked on key departmental initiatives including improvement of services trade statistics, development of strategies to double services industries exports, and the International Trade Administration’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.