Orange County California Leads U.S. Destinations in Welcoming the Country's Growing Number of Chinese Visitors

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The Southern California coastal region is using technology and personal touches to enhance the experience for Chinese guests.

One of the ways the OCVA is working to attract Chinese tourists includes a video it produced in association with Visit California and South Coast Plaza

The estimated number of visitors to California from China may rise to more than one million next year. That figure has more than doubled since 2010 and increased nearly 20 percent from 2012-2013. Those estimated figures, gathered from the Department of Homeland Security, are why the Orange County Visitors Association (OCVA) is working to become the number one US visitors bureau to cater to Chinese tourists. It also wants to distinguish Orange County as a destination separate from Los Angeles.

Orange County (known worldwide as “The OC”), located just south of LA, offers attractions popular with the Chinese including Disneyland, high-end shopping centers like South Coast Plaza, numerous golf courses and 42 miles of pristine, clean coastline. The OCVA said Chinese tourists spent more than $180 million in The OC last year.

One of the ways the OCVA is working to attract Chinese tourists includes a video it produced in association with Visit CA and South Coast Plaza, titled “Welcoming Our Chinese Guests to Orange County.” Originally viewed at http://visittheoc.com/china-hospitality/china-video, it went viral after a posting on YouTube at http://youtu.be/jmLIB6U3IO4.

“This video is a first in California and bridges the cultural differences between the two countries helping our businesses make Chinese guests feel at home,” said OCVA CEO Ed Fuller. “Even simple changes such as offering Mandarin speaking concierges and tea kettles in hotel rooms would help,” said Fuller. The video includes topics ranging from social and cultural norms to proper etiquette for business relationships.

This past May, a 7000 person Chinese travel group, Perfect China, visited as a result of the OCVA's mission. It was the largest group from China to ever visit the U.S.

Another way to attract more Chinese and make them a part of the tourism community might be the new visa rule from the Obama administration. It makes it easier for Chinese students to obtain five-year student visas. “This may help the Chinese purchase homes in The OC for themselves and their children in college,” said Fuller.

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Editors Note: The Orange County Visitors Association (OCVA) represents more than 700 members of Orange County, California’s tourism community and is the leading resource for visitor information about the county’s 34 cities. OCVA serves as steward of The OC brand, recognized worldwide as the home of world-famous theme parks, unparalleled shopping, 42 miles of pristine coastline, renowned beachfront resorts, and innumerable activities ranging from watersports to world-class performing arts. OCVA promotes the destination both domestically and internationally, with tourism offices in four international cities. Orange County is located in the heart of Southern California and provides easy access to all the attractions the region offers. For more information, go to http://www.VisitTheOC.com or call the California Welcome Center at (714) 523-3441. Follow OCVA on Facebook (OC.SoCal) and Twitter (@VisitTheOC).

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Michelle McCue
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