Shopping is Big Business for Overseas Visitors to the US

Chinese shoppers at a Paris shopping mall.
Chinese shoppers at a Paris shopping mall.

I’m just back from the IPW Travel Conference, where 6000 travel professionals gathered in New Orleans to talk about the industry and to network with more than 400 travel writers and thousands of buyers from all over the world. The visitors were there to find great places, activities and services for travel in the United States.

One of the most prominent aspects of the experience, along with big pavilions for major hotel chains and car rental companies, were for shopping malls and department stores who wanted to reach rich Chinese and other Asian travelers who have one prime objective when they visit the US.

I got a chance to visit with a friend and customer, who has a son studying Mandarin and who lives in Beijing. She told me some interesting stories about how different the Chinese tourists who come to the US are than other travelers. For instance, she said most of the Chinese prefer to eat Chinese food in local American Chinese restaurants, rather than eat American foods or even fancy French foods that we offer in the high end neighborhoods.  Many times, she said, even the most well-heeled of the Chinese tourists will visit a local Asian market, pick up some familiar foods like the ones they’d eat at home and they will cook in their hotel rooms. Anything to get a taste of their beloved hot peppers, Asian vegetables, and sauces that they love and are used to eating in Beijing!

Another interesting aspect about Chinese tourists is how important status is to them. Some rich businessmen will come to the US, buy expensive colognes, women’s perfumes, and other luxury goods, and NEVER USE THEM. They bring them home all wrapped up still in the fancy packaging, so that they can show their friends what they got, and they might sit on the shelf unopened for years.  The same with high quality spirits, often it’s more important to show off the bottles than actually drink what’s inside.

Many Chinese visitors to the US are very interested in shopping for high end brands.
Many Chinese visitors to the US are very interested in shopping for high end brands.

Shopping in top of the line stores is a big part of the Chinese visitors’ United States experience. They come armed with many dollars and are interested in finding prestigious brands that convey success. I never thought of shopping as a big part of travel, but it is clear that I am in the minority.  To many of the richest people from around the world who visit our country, the most important thing is what they can find in the stores and which designer brands they can obtain.

If you also enjoy shopping but are on a tight budget, we suggest you go for online coupons. Experts recommend Frugaa.com for that purpose as which provides a huge discounts and money saving deals. This does not just stop on products, you can also opt for various offers on services like flight and hotel bookings provided by Barcelo Hotels and Resorts, Extended Stay America and FlightHub.com.

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