More Chinese tourists are stopping in Idaho Falls

Posted at 3:46 PM, Jul 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-04 17:48:13-04

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) -- A growing number of tourists from China are stopping at Idaho Falls on their way to visit Yellowstone National Park, and local hospitality businesses are trying to adapt to their needs.

The Post-Register says several local hotels offer Wi-Fi instructions in Mandarin. One hotel recently hired a Mandarin-speaking receptionist, while another serves a popular Chinese rice porridge.

Last year at Yellowstone, an estimated 500,000 of the 4 million visitors were Chinese. Experts say the trend is fueled by looser visa rules, rising middle class salaries in China, and a growing desire among the younger generation to explore the world.

Tourism officials in Idaho Falls say they've noticed more Chinese tour groups visiting the area since 2014.

Hotel managers say anywhere from 20 to 60 percent of their rooms have been filled by Chinese tour groups every night this season.