China overtakes Spain to become world’s third largest tourism destination

China overtakes Spain to become world’s third largest tourism destination

China has overtaken Spain to become the world’s third largest tourist destination, according to new figures released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

In 2010, China enjoyed a 9.4 percent increase in arrivals to 55.7 million. Meanwhile Spain, which is still recovered from the financial crisis, experienced a 1 percent increase to 52.2 million.

The United States held on to the top spot with 78.95 million arrivals, followed by France, which had 60.88 million, according to the UNWTO.

Although Spain lost out on tourism numbers, it attracted a larger volume of high spenders, ranking number two in the world for tourist dollars at $52.5 billion. The US took the top slot and France came third, whilst China ranked fourth receiving $45.8 billion.

More Chinese travelled abroad than the foreign visitors the country received. The number of outbound Chinese travellers rose 20 percent over 2009 reaching 57.39 million last year. Chinese tourists ranked fourth-largest worldwide last year.

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The spending by outbound Chinese tourists ranked fourth-largest worldwide last year. The number of outbound travellers reached 57.39 million in 2010, which was up 20.4 percent year-on-year.

The UNWTO also predicted that China will become the world’s largest destination in the next five to seven years.