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China Becomes the World’s Largest International Tourism Spender
2013-04-11 10:44:38

(By staff reporter Wu Jun) United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) noted in a recent statement that in...

(By staff reporter Wu Jun) United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) noted in a recent statement that in 2012 China spent US$102 billion in outbound tourism, overtaking Germany and USA, the two largest spenders in 2011 to top the list.

According to the statement, thanks to the rapid progress of urbanization, increase in disposable income, and the easing of restrictions on international travels, China has seen the fastest growth in the international tourism market over the past ten years. The number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad increased from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012, and over the same period, their tourism spending abroad grew by eight folds, reaching US$102 billion in 2012, an increase of 40% over US$73 billion in 2011.

UNWTO said China ranked 7th in 2005 in terms of international tourism spending, and overtook Italy, Japan, France and UK successively in the following years; in 2012, it went further to surpass Germany and USA who had long taken first and second places, to top the rankings.

Besides China, several other emerging countries have seen sharp increases in international tourism spending as well. Russia reported a total of US$43 billion, up 32% over the previous year, and moved up two places to 5th. Brazil failed to make its way into the top 10, but secured 12th place with a total spending of US$22 billion, a great leap over 29th place in 2005.

Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of UNWTO, said that emerging economies remained the driving force for the growth of tourism demand in the world, and that the sharp increases in the international tourism spending of China and Russia showed the robust growth of the middle class in the two countries, which will surely bring changes to the setup of global tourism.

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