Xi Jinping Invites American Tourists to Boost Chinese Economy

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The Chinese government organized a “tourism leadership summit” aiming to persuade Americans to visit China, featuring a direct invitation from leader Xi Jinping.

Xi’an had severe lockdowns imposed by Xi in December 2021 and October 2022.

Volunteers in protective suits package meals for delivery to people under lockdown in Xi'an, China, on January 4, 2022. (Zhang Bowen/Xinhua via AP)

Volunteers in protective suits package meals for delivery to people under lockdown in Xi’an, China, on January 4, 2022. (Zhang Bowen/Xinhua via AP)

“We warmly welcome American tourists to travel to China, meet Chinese friends, experience Chinese culture, visit beautiful landscapes, and experience the real China,” Xi conveyed in his message to the event, according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

It is hoped that all walks of life in the two countries will take this summit as an opportunity to have in-depth exchanges, build consensus, and take active actions to promote personnel exchanges through tourism cooperation, continue China-U.S. friendship with cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and help the San Francisco vision turn into reality, Xi said.

The Global Times, another Chinese government outlet, reported that American President Joe Biden also sent a letter to the attendees at the summit, inviting Chinese nationals to visit the U.S.

“The U.S. welcomes the people of China to discover our cities, learn about our history, and engage with our people in destinations across the country,” Biden reportedly wrote.

Biden and Xi

President Joe Biden bids farewell to President Xi Jinping after their talks in California on November 15, 2023. (Li Xueren/Xinhua via Getty Images)

American officials anticipate increased Chinese tourism.

“According to our latest forecast, we anticipate that Chinese visitation to the U.S. will increase 150 percent from 2023 to 2025,” Grant Harris, assistant secretary for industry and analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce, said, according to Global Times. “That’s 4.7 times faster than the rise in overall overseas visitations to the U.S. during this time.”

The Global Times did not provide predictions for American travel to China. The State Department has a travel warning for China, including Hong Kong and Macau, cautioning Americans about potential arbitrary imprisonment due to their nationality.

“U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime,” the State Department warning explains. “U.S. citizens in the PRC may be subjected to interrogations and detention without fair and transparent treatment under the law.”

Tourists at Hongya Cave scenic area in Chongqing, China, on February 18, 2024. (Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Tourists at Hongya Cave scenic area in Chongqing, China, on February 18, 2024. (Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Xi’s invitation to American tourists is part of efforts to attract more foreign money to China’s struggling economy. The lockdowns are just one factor in the country’s economic decline, which includes disrupted manufacturing, a historic loss of foreign investment, high unemployment, and a troubled real estate sector. The government liquidated major developer Evergrande, and lockdown-related chaos, including a significant riot at the largest iPhone factory in November 2022, drove multinational corporations to relocate manufacturing to countries like India and Vietnam.

This decline has prompted Xi to take more action. In March, he hosted VIP American businessmen to address concerns over the Communist Party’s business environment.

In the face of new situations and changes in China-U.S. economic and trade relations in recent years, both sides must adhere to mutual respect, mutual benefit, equal consultation, act in accordance with economic laws and market rules, expand and deepen mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation, respect each other’s development rights.

China documented an $11.8-billion decline in foreign investment for the fiscal quarter ending September 2023, the first such decline in the country’s history, prompting severe measures to attract more foreign capital. The government set a five percent GDP growth goal for 2024.

Xi reportedly met with foreign businessmen again on Thursday to “reassure the business leaders,” according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, and boost confidence in the Chinese economy.

Frances Martel
Frances Martel
Author and editor specializing in international current events.

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