By the time this email hits your inbox, I’ll be on a plane bound for China. Visit Seattle, the city’s official destination marketing association has invited me to join them on this amazing trip. I currently serve as the Visit Seattle finance chair and the purpose of our trip is to meet over 400 customers in three cities in a week’s time to share information about opportunities in Seattle. China is the fastest growing inbound tourism market to North America and according to recent statistics, last year Chinese tourists spent over $35 million in the Pacific Northwest – a 45% increase over the previous year. That number is expected to jump to 154% over the next four years.
To put it in perspective, there are enough Chinese travelers going to America each year to fill every Mariners home game for the next 22 years. Not surprisingly, this is one of the reasons Delta Airlines made Seattle their Asian hub – China will most likely become the number one inbound market to Seattle and Portland.
We’ve already seen this explosion of growth first hand, by welcoming visitors from all over Asia into our restaurants. We just completed translating our all of our menus into Mandarin and Japanese, and our next step is hiring servers who can speak these languages. It’s more than just serving this new market – it’s also about connecting with another culture.
While reaching to new markets across the globe, our mission stays the same: to deliver a world class dining experience each night to every guest. As always, we look forward to continuing the traditions and rituals that our guests have come to expect, and sharing those with our new global visitors.
Until next time,
President and COO