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Newlyweds from Beijing, on Hollywood Boulevard. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty

After years of double-digit growth, the number of Chinese visitors to the U.S. and the amount they spend are shrinking, inflicting a hit on the $1.6 trillion travel industry.

The big picture: The inflection point was 2017, coinciding with President Trump's assumption of power and the intensification of U.S.-Chinese brinkmanship, according to data from the National Travel and Tourism Office, an industry association.

  • In 2012, the number of Chinese tourists rose 31.8%, and in 2016 by 16%, among an unbroken string of double-digit increases.
  • Their overall spending went from double digits to a 4% increase in 2017, and a 2% drop last year.

Why it matters: Chinese tourists and students are perhaps the biggest spenders of all visitors to the U.S. Last year, for instance, they spent $34.6 billion, compared with $16 billion by British tourists and $9 billion by South Koreans.

Go deeper

DOJ watchdog to probe whether officials sought to alter election results

Former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump exit Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Jan. 20. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general will investigate whether any current or former DOJ officials "engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 election, the agency announced Monday.

Driving the news: The investigation comes in the wake of a New York Times report that alleged that Jeffrey Clark, the head of DOJ's civil division, had plotted with President Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Google's chief health officer Karen DeSalvo on vaccinating America

Google on Monday became the latest Big Tech company to get involved with COVID-19 vaccinations. Not just by doing things like incorporating vaccination sites into its maps, but by helping to turn some of its offices and parking lots into vaccination sites.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into what Google is doing, and why now, with Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Google's chief health officer who previously worked at HHS and as health commissioner for New Orleans.

Biden signs order overturning Trump's transgender military ban

Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

President Biden signed an executive order on Monday overturning the Trump administration's ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.

Why it matters: The ban, which allowed the military to bar openly transgender recruits and discharge people for not living as their sex assigned at birth, affected up to 15,000 service members, according to tallies from the National Center for Transgender Equality and Transgender American Veterans Association.