If the Chinese tourist industry continues to grow at its current rate, then China would become the world’s number 1 tourism market by 2020. This prediction has been made on the basis on this year’s statistics, showing that China has overtaken Japan as Asia’s top country for outbound tourism: over 30 million Chinese citizens have travelled abroad this year. Similarly China enjoys improvement in inbound tourism too.
Ever since China joined the UNWTO (World Tourist Organisation) in 2001, there have been more and more travelling opportunities for Chinese people. Before 2001 possible foreign destinations comprised a handful of countries. Now Chinese citizens have 132 countries to choose from. This is the main reason why since 2001 there has been a 10% increase in outbound tourism.
During the last years the Chinese economy has been growing rapidly, thus the consumption standards of Chinese people have changed and their desire to travel abroad has grown. A further factor is that the Chinese government has managed to make a number of agreements facilitating the arrival and departure of its citizens. These agreements are technically referred to as ADS (Approved Destination Status).
China is now the fourth globally in terms of inbound tourism. Last year, 46.8 million foreigners crossed Chinese borders, bringing a total of $29.3 billion in revenue. This is also due to the relaxation of unnecessary bureaucratical barriers and the government’s fulfillment of WTO criteria. As a result, foreign companies have been allowed to open hotels and restaurants. Indeed, China now has 49 overseas hotel brands and 25 foreign-funded travel agencies.