This past week the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau (VCB) hosted eight writers and photographers from China on a two day tour of the Yakima Valley. The trip was coordinated by the VCB, Washington State Tourism, Seattle CVB and Port of Seattle.
Local activities they enjoyed included a lesson on fly fishing at Canyon River Ranch Lodge/Red’s Fly Shop in the Yakima River Canyon, dinner at Hyatt Vineyards near Zillah, a guided tour of the Central Washington Agricultural Museum in Union Gap (pictured), a visit to the Yakama Nation Museum including a Buffalo stew luncheon at their Heritage Inn Restaurant plus a walking tour of the Toppenish Murals.
China is a growing in-bound visitor market for the USA and Washington State. According to an article in the May 24 issue of Newsweek, “54 million Chinese are expected to go abroad this year, up from 47.6 million in 2009, and a mere 10.5 million in 2000.” While only 640,000 of those travelers currently visit the USA, the US Travel Association plans to increase awareness of the US as a destination for Chinese residents. Equally important is entry process both for tourists with visas and those coming from the 36 countries covered by the US Visa Waiver Program.
Later this month, Governor Gregoire will lead a delegation of business leaders on a trip to China to raise awareness of Washington state for various opportunities, including travel.