CARMEL, Calif. - Juny Png came all the way from Shanghai, China to take in the charm and culture of Carmel.
"So many beautiful articles here,” said Png. “The peace, surrounding, so its attractive."
Those sentiments are echoed by many tourists from China, which sends more visitors to Carmel than any other country.
"One thing that's happened is they've changed the visa requirements in China, so lots more China travelers are coming to the United States," said Monta Potter, CEO of the Carmel Chamber of Commerce.
Shops and restaurants are taking notice and are getting China-ready. Basil Seasonal Dining has created a menu translated in Chinese.
"A lot of Chinese people were coming here, looking at the menu on our board and they were kind of undecided. They didn’t really understand,” said Denis Boaro, owner of Basil. “They were going through the translation process and spending extra time. So once they come here and we show them the menu, they are able to sit down and we can capture more business."
The Carmel Drug Store also caters to visitors from China. It carries more vitamin supplements, Burt’s Bees and Zippo Lighters.
"The way they buy the Zippos, they'll buy four, five, six at a time,” said Carmel Drug Store Owner Ross Arnold. “So I'm almost thinking either can't get them in China or they can get them in the USA. When they come in asking for Burt’s Bees, they’ll ask for a dozen at a time.”
Marketing experts predict that the number of Chinese visitors will quadruple by 2121. Following China, Canada and the United Kingdom come in second and third for foreign tourists visiting Carmel.