China leads Asia in outbound tourism
December 17, 2006 1:34am CST
By Xin Dingding (China Daily) China is consolidating its status as Asia's largest outbound tourism market as 28.55 million people travelled abroad in the first 10 months of this year. The State Tourism Administration said on its website that the number is 10.8 per cent more than for the same period last year. Shao Qiwei, head of the administration, said it is a result of the tourism industry's opening up since China's entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001. Mainland travellers can now visit 132 countries and regions, up from 18 in 2001, including the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions. In 2001, 12.13 million Chinese travelled overseas. Last year, the number soared to 31 million. In the past five years, China has overtaken Japan to become the largest source of outbound travellers in Asia. The administration, however, has not provided figures on the expenditure of Chinese outbound travellers. In the latest list of the world's leading outbound tourism markets, based on statistics in 2004, the World Tourism Organization placed China behind Japan in terms of expenditure. China ranked seventh and Japan fourth. China is also gaining appeal as a top tourist destination. Official statistics show that China received 46.8 million tourists last year, ranking fourth globally. The tourists spent a total of US$29.3 billion, placing China sixth globally.