Chinese tourists visiting the ruins of Ephesus in Turkey. (Photo/China.com.cn)
With the approaching seven-day holiday in celebration of the Chinese New Year, the world is expecting large numbers of Chinese tourists to start arriving next week.
Statistics showed that the number of booked outbound tours rose 32 percent when compared with the same period last year, even though prices also went up by 10 percent.
Thanks to the sharp increase in income and better-facilitated transportation, China has become the world’s largest outbound tourism market.
According to the China Tourism Academy, over 140 million Chinese people traveled to foreign destinations in 2018, 11 million more than the previous year. Chinese tourists have left their footprints in 157 countries, and China has maintained the largest source of outbound tourism for years.
“It’s much easier to travel to foreign countries now, and it’s not very expensive,” said Zhang Zhixia, a power supply company employee in Fuzhou, southeastern China’s Fujian province.
Now, 72 countries and regions offer Chinese citizens visa-free or visa-on-arrival options. Before this year’s Spring Festival, hot-spot destinations such as Japan and Thailand relaxed visa restrictions specifically for Chinese citizens.
From 2017 to 2018, 61.25 percent of Chinese tourists traveled to Asian countries, and 60.69 percent also went to Europe. 3.48 percent even reached the Antarctic.
Bangkok, Tokyo, and Osaka remained the hottest short-trip destinations for Chinese tourists, while London, Paris and New York were the top three places for Chinese tourists making longer journeys.
Aside from traditional hot-spot destinations, places that were not traditionally frequented by Chinese tourists are also becoming more popular. Serbia, Laos, Belgium, and Vietnam have all witnessed a growing inflow of Chinese travelers.
Insiders noted that the booming outbound tourism market would bring enormous benefits for the expansion of tourism consumption and the “going global” strategy of Chinese enterprises.
Tour guides, tour agencies, and drivers that serve Chinese tourists are predominantly from China, which significantly helps encourage Chinese enterprises, especially Chinese tour companies, to go overseas, one insider explained.