Mr Trump, as you ponder a China trade war, count the US$33 billion Chinese tourists spent in America

As the administration of Donald Trump ponders how best to launch its trade war with China, maximising impact on China and minimising cost to politically important voters at home, it could do worse than pause to think about tourism.

And as he and his henchmen like Robert Lighthizer fulminate about merchandise trade deficits, he may do well to remember that set against those visible trade deficits, the US is the world’s largest exporter of services, with surpluses almost anywhere you look. And 40 per cent of those services exports are tourist spending by foreigners in the United States.

While France is the world’s leading destination for foreign tourists – attracting nearly 83 million people in 2016 – it attracts tourism spending of a modest US$42 billion. This pales against the US, whose 75.6 million inbound tourists spent US$290 billion, making the US by far the world’s biggest earner from international tourism.

Out of those nearly 76 million foreign visitors to the US in 2016, fully half came from Canada and Mexico. China accounted for just 3 million. But then look at the spending: those Chinese tourists spent US$33 billion – almost as much as Canadians and Mexicans combined.

Read More – South China Morning Post

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