Despite Trump’s anti-China rhetoric during his campaign, more Chinese are choosing the U.S. as their next travel destination.
A survey by Brand USA reveals that the Chinese are the only group indicating that the political climate in the United States under Donald Trump has made them more likely to visit the country than before. This puts them in stark contrast to every other country surveyed, which includes Mexico, Canada, and Australia.
It seems counterintuitive, but many Chinese actually like President Trump. The reason is simple: he is a strong man. In Chinese culture, a strong man should be in charge. Maybe that is why President Xi Jinping is popular in China, with a near 90 % approval rate.
The fact that Trump hosted his first meeting with Xi at his summer resort Mar-a-Lago may very well make it a site of fascination for wealthy Chinese who look for ways to associate with the world’s famous and powerful.
Already, Chinese billionaire and real estate tycoon Guo Wengui has shown off pictures of himself on the Mar-a-Lago grounds with its managing director Bernd Lembcke — Trump’s “favorite man,” even before President Xi set foot on the property.
China now has more billionaires than the United States. Last year, China’s billionaire population surpassed the United States’, numbering 568 versus America’s 535. Be prepared for more Chinese billionaires to join the membership club at Mar-a-Lago.
The same is true for Ivanka Trump. While Ivanka is a controversial figure in the U.S., many Chinese women adore her and consider her a role model. She seems to have everything Chinese women aspire to — pretty, rich, elegant, and her own career, not to mention her beautiful family.
During the Chinese New Year, Ivanka uploaded a video of her daughter Arabelle reciting Chinese poems. The Chinese were mesmerized by that. The video has gone viral on Chinese social media.
Ivanka Trump also fits into the stereotype of what a “good” woman should be in Chinese culture. She is loyal to her father, as many see it, and she is devoted to her husband because she converted to Judaism when she married Jared Kushner. Those are considered Chinese virtues.
As such, Mar-a-Lago may become the next wedding destination for wealthy Chinese millennials. An increasing number of Chinese are planning their weddings overseas, with some having a budget as much as 1 million yuan (about $150,000).
According to Ctrip, the Chinese travel site, overseas weddings have increased exponentially, growing at 200% in recent years. Nearly 60% of young Chinese plan to travel overseas to tie the knot. With Ivanka’s aura, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them are eyeing Mar-a-Lago to toast a happy life.
Chinese travelers represent the largest group of luxury consumers in the world, accounting for one-third of total luxury purchases in 2016. The Trumps may bring more Chinese travelers to the U.S. than ever before.