The Chinese government held a “tourism leadership summit” to entice Americans to spend their money in China, featuring a personal invite from genocidal dictator Xi Jinping.

Xi sent a personalized message to the event, in the city of Xi’an, emphasizing the importance that “cultural and people-to-people exchanges” hold in the eyes of the Communist Party for improving relations with America. Organizers and state media noted that the China-U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit used to be an annual event but had not been held since 2019, the last year before the Communist Party began locking down entire cities in response to the coronavirus outbreak beginning in Wuhan late that year.

Xi’an was the site of some of Xi’s most brutal lockdowns, in December 2021 and October 2022.

Volunteers wearing protective suits package meals for delivery to people under lockdown in Xi’an, China, on January 4, 2022. (Zhang Bowen/Xinhua via AP)

“We warmly welcome American tourists to travel to China, meet Chinese friends, experience Chinese culture, visit beautiful landscapes, and experience the real China,” Xi said in his message to the event, according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Xinhua cited Xi as saying:

It is hoped that all walks of life in the two countries will take this summit as an opportunity to have in-depth exchanges, build consensus, and take active actions to promote personnel exchanges through tourism cooperation, continue China-U.S. friendship with cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and help the San Francisco vision turn into reality, Xi said.

The Global Times, another Chinese government propaganda outlet, reported that leftist American President Joe Biden also sent a letter to the organizers and attendees at the tourism summit inviting Chinese nationals to travel to America.

“The U.S. welcomes the people of China to discover our cities, learn about our history, and engage with our people in destinations across the country,” Biden reportedly wrote.

U.S. President Joe Biden escorts Chinese President Xi Jinping to his car to bid farewell after their talks in the Filoli Estate in California on November 15, 2023. (Li Xueren/Xinhua via Getty Images)

American officials are expecting a surge in Chinese tourism.

“According to our latest forecast, we anticipate that Chinese visitation to the U.S. will increase 150 percent from 2023 to 2025,” Grant Harris, assistant secretary for industry and analysis of the U.S. Department of Commerce, said, according to the Global Times. “That’s 4.7 times faster than the rise in overall overseas visitations to the U.S. during this time.”

Harris was among the allegedly 400 invitees participating in the Xi’an event.

The Global Times did not offer similar predictions for Americans traveling to China. The State Department currently has a travel warning in place for China — including the occupied territories and colonized Hong Kong and Macau — warning Americans they could be randomly imprisoned due to their nationality.

“U.S. citizens traveling or residing in the PRC may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime,” the State Department warning explains. “U.S. citizens in the PRC may be subjected to interrogations and detention without fair and transparent treatment under the law.”

Tourists visit the Hongya Cave scenic area in large numbers in Chongqing, China, on February 18, 2024. (Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Xi’s invitation to American tourists comes as the dictator seeks to attract more foreign money to the country to repair its ailing economy. The lockdowns are just part of the story behind the ongoing decline of the Chinese economy, disrupting manufacturing and the daily course of business in the nation’s largest economic hubs. China has also experienced a historic loss of foreign investment, a sluggish job market, and a catastrophic year in the real estate industry that saw the government order the liquidation of the massive developer Evergrande. The chaos of the lockdowns — peaking with a debilitating riot at the world’s largest iPhone factory in November 2022 — sent multinational corporations fleeing the country, looking to “de-risk” by moving manufacturing into countries such as India and Vietnam.

The slump has prompted Xi to take more action personally. In March, the dictator hosted a group of VIP American businessmen to assuage concerns that the Communist Party was not maintaining a hospitable environment for foreign operations.

“We are planning and implementing a series of major measures to comprehensively deepen reforms, continue to build a market-oriented, legal and international first-class business environment,” Xi told those potential investors, according to state media reports at the time:

In the face of new situations and changes in China-U.S. economic and trade relations in recent years, both sides must adhere to mutual respect, mutual benefit, equal consultation, act in accordance with economic laws and market rules, expand and deepen mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation, respect each other’s development rights.

China documented an $11.8-billion decline in foreign investment for the fiscal quarter ending September 2023, the first decline in foreign direct investment in the history of communist China, necessitating increasingly severe measures to attract more foreign cash. The Chinese government set a smaller GDP growth goal for 2024 than 2023, aiming for five percent growth.

Xi reportedly sat down with foreign businessmen again on Thursday to “reassure the business leaders,” according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, and encourage confidence in the Chinese economy.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.