With the most important Chinese holiday approaching in February, many Chinese have begun signing up for travel to the United States, adding to a major source of US tourism.
Chinese and US travel agents are monitoring the burgeoning market of middle-class Chinese families making trips during an otherwise slow winter season for US tourism.
The California Travel and Tourism Commission, the state's official travel promoter, and four Chinese tourism companies have launched a project to attract Spring Festival vacationers from China.
The bigger objective is to make California the top destination for Chinese travelers during Spring Festival, said commission president Caroline Beteta.
The Chinese Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on Feb 10 this year and lasts a week — though it can be stretched beyond two weeks when combined with the Lantern Festival, which begins on Feb 24.
Helen Tsui, director of Asia-Pacific tourism for the San Francisco Travel Association, said China is an important and growing market for the city.
"We are one of the first destinations that established representation offices in Shanghai and Beijing more than 15 years ago," she said.
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