Number of Chinese visitors to Alaska growing in recent years

    The skyline of downtown Anchorage.

    Anchorage, Alaska (AP) - Alaska is a tourism destination for a growing number of visitors from China.

    The Anchorage Daily News reports Alaska received relatively little notice from Chinese travelers until recent years.

    The number of Chinese visitors has jumped because of social media and increasing interest in winter tourism tied to the Aurora borealis.

    State figures show an estimated 5,000 Chinese travelers visited Alaska in 2016, compared with 2,000 in 2011.

    A similar count has not been attempted since then, but travel industry representatives estimate at least 10,000 Chinese travelers visited the state in 2018.

    Sarah Leonard, executive director of the Alaska Travel Industry Association, says "China is definitely the emerging market right now."

    Minghui Dong, a Beijing nurse and tour guide, says through an interpreter that Alaska left a "beautiful impression" on her.

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