China’s inbound tourism seems to have declined in recent years, particularly in 2014. According to the official organizations, the inbound tourism decreased by about 1% in 2014. However, TravelChinaGuide.com and some local travel organizations estimated a decrease as high as 20%-30%.
Here below are some reasons for the decline:
1. Air pollution: China does have this problem, as climate changes (there is less wind in recent years), more vehicles are running, and industry develops, just like many other countries in this world. However, it happens mostly in winter; air quality at other times is good. But the air was thought to be very poor all year round by some foreign visitors as western media exaggerated the situation with skewed reporting, always using pictures and videos shot in winter to paint a negative picture. However, the government is trying to solve the problem and the situation will be better in the future.
2. Food security: In the past several years, there were many reports on Chinese food safety problems. However, these cases mostly happened in remote areas, at roadside food stands and in illegal workshops, etc. Food served in large cities, especially by brand restaurants, bottled water and drinks provided in large supermarkets have no such problems. We, TravelChinaGuide.com, always choose good restaurants for our clients strictly and responsibly. Food problems are unheard of in our tours. Also the Chinese government has taken measures to supervise food safety.
3. Accidents and incidents: There were a few accidents in 2014. There was a tourist bus accident in Tibet, a terrorism attack in Xinjiang, a New Year stampede in Shanghai...Such happenings appearing in the media tend to cause panic and over-reaction when people think about the safety problem in China. But in fact, China is still one of the world's safest countries as violent crime rate is rather low compared with other countries/regions and shooting incidents hardly happen. Also, the government has made great effort to combat terrorism in the past years.
4. Revaluation of Chinese currency: This directly caused price rise on China tours, leading foreign visitors to choose other destinations.
5. Corruption: In the past years, lots of officials were put into prison due to corruption, even including the highly ranked officials.
6. Decline of China’s national image: This was the major reason why China’s inbound tourism kept decreasing. This tarnished image is due to the reasons listed and also many other problems like wider and wider gap between the rich and poor.
These are also urgent problems ahead for the Chinese Government. Only if they devote themselves to solving problems, can the trend of inbound tourism to China show signs of improving.