China has witnessed another year of growth in terms of outbound tourism, confirming the predictions made by China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) at the beginning of 2011.
The China Tourism Academy (CTA) put the final figures as approximately 70 million trips overseas in 2011, an increase of more than 20 per cent from the 57.4 million trips in 2010.
The 13 million jump from 2010 to 2011 corroborates the prediction made by the director of COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, Wolfgang Georg Arlt, who in January 2011 said to expect a double-figure increase, despite the conservative estimates made by others in the field.
China now ranks in third place as a global outbound tourism source market; however it is closely following the two greatest source markets with very narrow margins.
Germany and the USA hold on to the two top positions, yet the gap between the three countries is decreasing and predictions that the future of international tourism lies with China still stand strong.
Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, recently claimed: “We can expect to see China become the number one country in terms of both receiving and sending tourists in the next five to seven years.”
A study by Commerzbank in Germany arrives at a similar conclusion; according to Jutta Kayser-Tilos, an economist at Commerzbank: “Against the backdrop of continued strong growth of the Chinese economy, it is expected that the title of ‘Travel World Champion’ will soon go to China.
“For many destinations, including non-neighbouring countries like Australia or the Maldives, China is already the most important inbound tourism source market today.”
CTA has also reported that the tourism spending of Chinese consumers is now over $69 billion, a massive increase on the $55 billion spent by Chinese tourists in 2010.