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China Tourism

China tourism industry has seen unprecedented development in recent years due to the sustainable economic growth, the further implementation of the Reform and Opening-up Policy, as well as the substantial increase in people's personal income. The enormous outbound market has drawn the attention of the world. The domestic market keeps expanding steadily. However, the inbound market is in a downturn.


Inbound Tourism:

According to the authority, the total number of overseas tourists had been overall declining slightly after the year 2007. Here are some possible reasons. First, due to RMB appreciation and the fluctuation of the exchange rate, the cost for travel to China goes up, and many potential visitors are thus turning to other destinations. Second, the economic recession in European and American countries leads people to spend less money in traveling while European and American guests contribute a large proportion to the country's inbound market. Third, the traditional travel itineraries and products lack novelty and competitiveness. Fourth, compared with other countries, Chinese authorities invest less effort in promoting inbound travel products. Fifth, the decline of the country's national image caused by corruption and other factors has had an adverse impact on inbound market. And last but not least, air pollution and food security problems arising in recent years cause some foreign visitors to worry about the travel conditions and cancel their plans for China.

China Inbound Tourism Statistics

 See Statistics by Year: 2019 2018 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007

 Top 20 China Destinations for Overseas Tourists:

1. Hong Kong 2. Shanghai 3. Beijing 4. Macau 5. Guangzhou
6. Shenzhen 7. Sanya 8. Xi'an 9. Hangzhou 10. Chengdu
11. Qingdao 12. Dalian 13. Xiamen 14. Zhuhai 15. Nanjing
16. Guilin 17. Suzhou 18. Chongqing 19. Tianjin 20. Haikou

In fact, China has carried out various measures to cope with the inbound tourism downturn. At present, the 72-hour visa-free transit policy has been adopted in more and more cities to welcome more overseas guests. The convenient flight network and the operation of many high speed trains in recent years make traveling in China faster and smoother. Besides, extensive campaigns are held to fight against environmental problems and ensure food safety. It's believed that more advantageous steps will be taken in the near future.


Outbound Tourism:

Thanks to the great improvement in Chinese people's living standards and consumption level, the outbound visitors grows by leaps and bounds. Chinese people are now eager to go outside to explore other parts of the world, which creates a tremendous market for foreign countries. The hottest destinations include South Korea, Japan, Thailand, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, USA, Singapore and Maldives, some of which are nearby Asian countries. Based on the huge population, a further and sustained growth of outbound visitors is expected.

 See Statistics by Year: 2019 2018 2017  2016   2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007

Domestic Tourism:

As an important element of China's tourist market, the domestic market benefits a lot from the large population. In the recent decades, domestic traveling greatly enhances the employment, consumption and economic development of the country. Currently, the most popular destinations for domestic travelers include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi'an, Guilin, Hangzhou, Sanya, Lhasa, Chengdu, Lijiang, Hong Kong, and Macau. The visitor quantity soars to amazing numbers during the peak seasons, especially the two golden weeks (the National Day Holiday, from Oct. 1 to 7 and the Chinese New Year). This may cause traffic problems and poor tourist service quality. When planning a visit to China, you should avoid these rush periods.

The World Tourism Organization predicts that China will become the largest travel destination and the fourth largest source country by 2020. In that year, there will be 137.10 million international travelers to the country, taking up 8.6% of the global share, and 100 million outbound Chinese visitors, 6.2% of the worldwide outbound visitors.

Data Source: Ministry of Culture and Tourism of People's Republic of China

Further Reading: History of China Tourism    China Tours     Top 10 China Destinations for First Time Travelers
- Last updated on Mar. 14, 2023 by Serena Zhou -
Questions & Answers on China Tourism
Asked by Oskar from SWEDEN | Jul. 24, 2019 03:40Reply
How many Chinese tourists travel to Spain from 2010 to 2018?
Answers (1)
Answered by Maria from POLAND | Jul. 30, 2019 23:03

Sorry, I only find the statistics in the following:
2017: 718,000
2016: 580,000
2014: 300,000
2013: 180,000

Hope helpful!
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