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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: 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: 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 Cities to Visit
- Last modified on Jan. 17, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on China Tourism
Asked by Jj from BRITAIN | Jan. 12, 2019 08:58Reply
How many foreign tourists went to xinjiang in 2018 and 2019
Could you give me details of how many foreign tourists went to xinjiang in 2018 and 2019? Are the numbers increasing or decreasing?
Answers (3)
Answered by Daisy from NEW ZEALAND | Jan. 13, 2019 18:01

Hi, the inbound tourists in Xinjiang of 2017 is 2,348,200 and the number of 2018 is 3,275,700.
Answered by Jj from USA | Jan. 15, 2019 02:59

Hi...I was really looking for international inbound tourists...not from the Chinese mainland...thanms
Answered by Daisy | Jan. 15, 2019 18:01

Yes, they are international tourists but not the tourists from the mainland.
Asked by Seungjun from REPUBLIC OF KOREA | Dec. 19, 2018 04:41Reply
hello i'm looking for international inbound tourist statistics in Hainan.
could you give me some information about international inbound tourist statistics in Hainan and expenditure?
Answers (3)
Answered by Chris from CANADA | Dec. 23, 2018 17:31

As I know, in 2017, the number of the international inbound tourists in Hainan is around 1 million and in the past 11 months of 2018, the number reaches about 1,116,800.
Answered by AP from NETHERLANDS | Jan. 17, 2019 01:20

Thanks so much for this. Do you have a breakdown of which countries they come from? Many thanks
Answered by Chris | Jan. 17, 2019 17:19

I'm sorry but no related information can be found.
Asked by Sophak Duong from SINGAPORE | Aug. 09, 2018 20:32Reply
I'm looking for market share of Chinese outbound, eg: to Thai, 45% of total Chinese outbound tourist
any source I can have these data?
I mean number of Chinese outbound tourists by destination.
Answers (3)
Answered by Kent from USA | Aug. 12, 2018 19:53

In 2017, around 9.8 million Chinese people travel to Thailand, taking up 28% of global visitors to Thailand; 7.35 million to Japan with 25.6% of international tourists.
Answered by Sophak Duong from SINGAPORE | Aug. 13, 2018 04:20

thanks Kent.
Any data source where I can track outbound Chinese by destination?
Answered by Kent | Aug. 13, 2018 18:11

I'm sorry I cannot give you the detailed address and I just find the data online freely. Maybe you can get something from the official website of China's National Tourism Administration.
Asked by Manuela from COLOMBIA | Nov. 15, 2017 23:14Reply
how many chinese travelers went to latin america during 2016?
by the way you web is awesome, always come here for new info on China tourism industry.Keep up the good work!
Answers (2)
Answered by Isaac from RUSSIA | Nov. 16, 2017 20:02

Well, I only found that the Chinese travelers went to Latin America during 2016 grew as much as 20% than 2015, but the exact statistics are unknown. Hope helpful!
Answered by Manuela from COLOMBIA | Nov. 17, 2017 21:48

Thank you Isaac, VERY HELPFUL!. I found that around 103,759,000 (including Mexico which is cosider North America by the UNWTO) international tourist arrivals to Latin America and only 1% are chinese tourists.
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