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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.

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Ben Geman, author of Generate
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Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Brian Snyder/AFP via Getty Images

Yes, special climate envoy John Kerry's really in China and no, don't look for a huge breakthrough between the world's two largest carbon-emitting nations.

Driving the news: The State Department yesterday announced Kerry's visit this week, confirming plans that began emerging Saturday.

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Hundreds of corporations sign statement opposing restrictive voting bills

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Hundreds of companies and executives released a letter on Wednesday condemning legislation that restricts "any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot," per the New York Times.

Why it matters: It's the most concerted action yet by big business in opposition to GOP-sponsored bills at the state level that limit mail-in ballots, implement new voter ID requirements and slash registration options, among other measures.