Published on Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Chinese tourism spend hits record levels

Chinese tourists spent more than ever in 2016, extending its lead as the outbound market with the biggest spending power, according to preliminary data by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

China's international tourism spending grew by $11 billion to $261 billion last year and the number of travellers going overseas rose 6% to 135 million.

China has the led the global chart on tourism spending since 2012 and has seen double digit annual growth every year since 2004.

"The growth from China benefited many destinations in Asia and the Pacific, most notably Japan, the Republic of Korea and Thailand, but also long-haul destinations such as the US and several states in Europe."

In second place, US overseas tourism spending also rose a healthy 8% year on year to $122 billion in 2016, thanks to a strong dollar.

"Despite the many challenges, the results are consistent with the 4% growth to 1.2 billion international tourist arrivals reported for 2016," said UNTWO secretary-general Taleb Rifai.

"People continue to have a strong appetite for travel and this benefits many countries around the world, translating into economic growth, job creation and opportunities for development."

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