A SIGINIFANT number of Chinese travelers are getting their US visas denied since the Trump administration took over in January, Skift reported. This is a pattern noticed by China’s flagship carrier Air China.
Air China’s vice-president and general manager for North America Zhihang Chi told Skift US officials haven’t shared numbers with the airline, but he suspects about 15 or 16 percent of Chinese are denied visas. During the Obama administration, the percentage of denials could have been lower at 10 percent.
“If this continues, we will have to do something,” Chi said. “We are a for-profit cooperation, and obviously we need to match supply with demand.”
He said the airline had yet to lodge any formal protests because it had yet to determine whether the visa denials are an “isolated problem”.
Chi said there had been reduced demand for US flights and the airline may be forced to cut some capacity.
Due to visa complications, Chinese tourists are more likely to visit Europe. “The visa problem is of particular concern for me because people have a choice,” Chi said.
“They want to come, but if they can’t, they go somewhere else.”
In March, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported almost 40 percent of Chinese participants were unable to join a recent travel incentive group in Hawaii because their visas were rejected.
Hawaii Tourism China managing director Reene Ho-Phang told the publication while typically 10 to 15 percent of visa applicants for group travel to Hawaii get denied, the rejection rate for this particular incentive event was significantly higher.
“We’ve observed group demand has cascaded a bit. Word has spread in the industry and it’s impacting other groups. Some are postponing group bookings by a year,” she said.