Chinese tourists biggest source of global tourism

Chinese tourists biggest source of global tourism

Chinese tourists biggest source of global tourism

Chinese tourist take souvenir pictures in front of of the Eiffel tower in Paris. REUTERS photo

The Chinese have become the single biggest source of global tourism income after spending $102 billion while travelling abroad in 2012, according to figures revealed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

“Over the past decade China has been, and still is, by far the fastest-growing tourism source market in the world. Expenditure by Chinese tourists abroad has also increased almost eightfold since 2000. Boosted by an appreciating Chinese currency, Chinese travellers spent a record US$ 102 billion in international tourism in 2012, a 40% jump from 2011 when it amounted to US$ 73 billion,” the report said. It also noted that higher incomes, looser travel restrictions and a strengthening currency are behind the surge.

With this sustained growth, China has become the largest spender in international tourism globally in 2012. While China ranked seventh in international tourism expenditure in 2005, it has since successively overtaken Italy, Japan, France and the United Kingdom. With the 2012 surge, China reached to first place, surpassing both top spender Germany and second largest spender United States (both close to $ 84 billion in 2012), the report said.

Other emerging market countries saw their tourism numbers jump, too. Among the world’s top ten source markets by expenditure, The Russian Federation saw spending rise by 32% to $43 billion, putting it in fifth place in the ranking of international tourism spending, up from seventh.

“Emerging economies continue to lead growth in tourism demand” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “The impressive growth of tourism expenditure from China and Russia reflects the entry into the tourism market of a growing middle class from these countries, which will surely continue to change the map of world tourism,” he added.