President Obama announced the reciprocal extension of visa validity periods between the United States and China on Monday, November 10. The crucial policy change increases the validity period for most leisure and business visas from one year to ten years – the maximum allowed under U.S. law – and extends the validity period for most student visas from one year to five years.
Brand USA moved quickly and aggressively to communicate the exciting news to Chinese consumers, travel trade and travel media and to the U.S. travel industry. Our principal communications channels included our in-market and global social media and digital channels, our full partner list, our international representation network around the world, and more. Brand USA CEO Chris Thompson even recorded a video address, which we distributed to herald the news.
Just four days after the President’s announcement, Brand USA led the USA pavilion at the largest travel show in China, the China International Travel Mart (CITM), where the United States was designated as the “guest country of honor.”
Kelly Craighead, the new executive director of the National Travel and Tourism Office, attended CITM and promoted the administration’s positive facilitation message. Brand USA reinforced the message throughout the show, which is attended by over 100,000 consumers and representatives from the travel trade and media.
The China visa update is the latest example of Brand USA working closely with Federal partners to communicate information about visa and entry policy directly to international travelers and key travel trade and travel media. Brand USA recently has provided essential updates on ESTA information collection, Ebola screening procedures, TSA electronic screening updates, the addition of Chile to the Visa Waiver Program, and the inclusion of Panama in the Global Entry program.
As a result of visa validity announcement, Brand USA is expanding and accelerating a number of its partner programs in China. These programs include:
- New opportunities for partners to promote their destinations and brands via our GoUSA.cn website (ranging from custom landing pages to complete subsites with partner-specific URLs) fully supported with tailored social media marketing.
- Expansion of our In-Language Video program for China.
- The launch of our second Multi-Channel Campaign in China (scheduled for spring 2015)
- The launch of the USA Discovery travel trade online training program (scheduled for spring 2015)
- The launch of our Multi-Platform Digital Strategy program that is projected to generate more than 400 million impressions over the most popular digital channels in China. Content will includes video, blogs, and key opinion leader programs – all supported by an aggressive social media channel push with online advertising components.
- Expanded content on GoUSA.cn regarding the Great Outdoors to support the Giant Screen Film, with promotional events beginning in fall 2015.
- Enhanced culinary content on all digital channels.
- The launch of our strategic retail program (scheduled for the first quarter of 2015).
- Continuation of our brand campaign in China, including digital and social media marketing 365 days a year, supplemented by digital TV and Out of Home components during spring 2015.