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China Outbound Tourism in 2013

In 2013, China’s outbound tourism market grew rapidly. Its status as world’s largest outbound tourism market and outbound tourism spender has been further consolidated. In the year, 98.19 million Chinese traveled abroad. That’s an increase of 18% compared to the year 2012, with the outbound expenditure reaching $128.7 billion USD, an increase of 26.8% on last year.

The reasons for this rapid growth are numerous and include the steadily developing economy, a growing demand in tourism, appreciation of Chinese currency, welcoming visa policies of foreign countries/regions, and the increased numbers of international flights.

The image of the  Chinese tourist has changed a lot over the years, from hoards of people dashing about taking photos and frantically shopping to slowly enjoying their surroundings and leisurely sightseeing. They are also spending more money on accommodation, food and entertainment. Although still popular, the sightseeing and shopping tours are being replaced with holidays that focus on rest and relaxation.

Many people prefer to organize their own holiday instead of using tour companies. Between January and September of 2013, almost 4 million Chinese visited Thailand; 3 million of them went there on their own, and roughly 80% of mainland Chinese visited Hong Kong by themselves. By booking flights, hotels and other self-serviced products online, the number of visitors traveling independently surpassed those who utilized organized tours to become the main force of China’s outbound tourism market.

Nearly 5 million people traveled from mainland China to Thailand via tour operators and travel agencies in 2013 (85% more than in 2012). This staggering increase could be down to the film “Lost in Thailand”.

 Outbound Tourism Statistics by Travel Agencies
In 2013, travel agencies helped 33,557,091 people to travel overseas. Among them, 27,916,701 went to nearby Asian countries, accounting for 83.19%; 3,613,509 visited Europe, making up 10.77%; 751,783 traveled to America, constituting 2.24%; 838,572 left for Oceania and 281,716 for Africa.
 Predication for 2014
Increased income combined with the opportunities to travel abroad, mean that outbound tourism is set to rise to about 114 million in 2014 with a total expenditure of 140 billion USD.

 Top 25 Outbound Destinations of Chinese People in 2013:

Destinations Reception of Chinese Mainland Tourists
  (First Destination)(Unit in 10,000 persons)
Growth (%)
Hong Kong 4030.33 15.3
Macau 2523.94 17.4
South Korea 425.34 42.0
Thailand 401.03 78.7
Taiwan 291.89 11.0
United States 196.69 14.2
Japan 183.46 -6.5
Vietnam  177.27 32.3
Cambodia 169.06 -8.4
Malaysia 135.16 -1.5
Singapore 132.28 13.4
Guinea-Bissau 114.39 216.0
Russia 91.53 5.3
Indonesia 87.92 23.2
Australia 82.27 12.8
Myanmar 56.13 2.8
Canada 49.77 19.1
United Kingdom 49.06 20.8
Italy 47.80 10.3
Philippines 44.65 64.0
France 42.21 14.2
 Germany 41.51 10.2
Maldives 30.24 45.1
United Arab Emirates 26.33 11.6
Mongolia 23.64 -27.3

Data Source: China National Tourism Administration

 See China Outbound Tourism by Year: 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007