The Maid of the Mist recently participated in the first Brand USA sales mission to China. Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the U.S., was established by the Travel Promotion Act as the nation's first public-private partnership to promote the country as a premier travel destination and to communicate U.S. entry/exit policies and procedures to worldwide travelers.
Tim Ruddy, Maid of the Mist vice president of marketing, along with more than 30 representatives of Brand USA's American travel industry partners, participated in the six-day event, which included stops in Beijing and Shanghai.
Members of the Brand USA delegation met with Chinese travel agents, tour operators, meeting and incentive planners, and media at a variety of events and functions.
Last fall, President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jingping jointly designated 2016 as a "U.S.-China Tourism Year" to pay tribute to the ongoing cooperation and steady development of tourism between the two countries.
China is the sixth-largest source market for inbound travel to the U.S. In 2014, just over 2 million Chinese travelers visited the U.S., 20 percent more than the previous year. Brand USA officials expect China to become the No. 1 source market for U.S.-bound travel within the next several years.
"The Maid of the Mist receives over 40 percent of its group tour business from the Chinese market, with 2016 representing an 18 percent increase over 2015," Ruddy said. "It's obvious that the continued growth of this very important market is vital for the significant gains that we have seen in tourist visits to Niagara Falls over the past several years."