The U.S. trade war with China is heating up, and its effects may now hit Las Vegas.
Warnings from China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism came out this Tuesday, advising Chinese citizens of dangers while traveling to the United States. Beijing had its own warnings of increased scrutiny by law enforcement for Chinese nationals.
“This Chinese travel warning is 100% political,” said Mike PeQueen of Hightower Financial. “It is all about discouraging Chinese from coming to the United States as tourists. It is part of the political battle surrounding the trade war, make no mistake about that.”
These advisories could impact tourism to Las Vegas, putting a stop to the solid growth of the last decade.
70,259 Chinese tourists visited Las Vegas in 2008, according to the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority. That number had increased to 260,300 Chinese tourists in 2017.
As one of the top sources of tourism, a reduction in traffic from China could harm the bottom line of many businesses. But greater than that is the threat to U.S. casinos operating in China. Macao has become a target of recent casino development, and it is not known if the conflict between China and the United States will affect these operations.
And the trade war shows no signs of letting up. Recent deals between Taiwan and the U.S. for war $4 billion worth of materials is likely to add fuel to the fire.