Feature: Chinese tourists flock to U.S. during Spring Festival, favoring museums, universities

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-09 16:41:12|Editor: mmm
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Qu Bo from Beijing and his 10-year-old son visited several museums in New York and Washington D.C. during their 10-day U.S. trip, and the National Air and Space Museum was his son's favorite.

"He is especially interested in this area. He saw a lot of airplane models, and even selected a book himself," Qu told Xinhua, showing a freshly bought English book titled "Space Exploration."

Also included in their trip were Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania. Qu said he wanted his son to walk around the campuses and "feel the atmosphere."

After spending the Chinese New Year's Eve at home, Chu Li and her teenage son departed from Shenzhen on Tuesday, as the Lunar New Year kicked off. Their two-week U.S. trip is also set to be packed with museums and universities.

Besides the more well-known National Museum of Natural History in the capital, they plan to visit museums dedicated to minorities in the country. "We've done some research in advance," Chu told Xinhua. "Just want to learn more about the cultures of the minorities."

They will also visit Boston later on, with a planned stop at Harvard University. "I want to take my son there, to broaden his horizon," Chu said. Since about three years ago, Chu has been taking his son to famous universities around the world, including Oxford University and Cambridge University in Britain.

Just like Qu and Chu, many more Chinese people are traveling with their children. Tourists born after the year 2000 account for 22 percent of those who travel during the Spring Festival, according to data released earlier this week by Ctrip, China's leading online travel agency.

In recent years, the number of Chinese tourists who visited the United States has been growing steadily. China is now the fifth largest visitor origin country, following Canada, Mexico, Britain and Japan, according to the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office. Its latest forecast showed that the number of Chinese tourists will reach 3.237 million in 2018, and exceed 4 million in five years.

As numbers grow, new trends are taking shape. Instead of flocking to popular tourist attractions, Chinese tourists have been turning their eyes toward places that arouse their interests and suit their needs, with more focus on cultural and educational experiences.

Shao Rongjia from Shanghai and her cousin arrived here on Wednesday, and top on their list is the National Gallery of Art. "We are both from the design industry," Shao told Xinhua. "We want to see some masterpieces at the gallery. It fits well with our specialty."