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China tops global tourism source
January 9, 2014, 4:27 am

China had the highest number of tourists traveling in foreign countries shows new official data released on Wednesday. Chinese tourists have also replaced US citizens as the biggest-spending globe-trotters.

A group of tourists from China take in the sights of the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall National Memorial. Major hotel brands are bending over backward to cater to the needs of the world's most sought-after traveler: the Chinese tourist [AP]

A group of tourists from China take in the sights of the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall National Memorial. Major hotel brands are bending over backward to cater to the needs of the world’s most sought-after traveler: the Chinese tourist [AP]

Ninety-seven million Chinese traveled abroad in 2013, rising from 14 million in 2012, according to China’s National Tourism Administration. The figure is expected to rise over 100 million this year.

The new report released on Wednesday by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said that China’s tourists have had the world’s strongest purchasing power since 2012.

Chinese tourists have displaced German and US tourists as the world’s biggest-spending travelers in 2012, spending $102 billion overseas, a 40-percent increase from 2011.

China’s growing economy is allowing its burgeoning middle class to extend new-found affluence to travelling abroad.

Most Chinese tourists traveled to Asian and European countries, the report said, accounting for 75 percent of overseas tourists in those countries.

“Chinese tourists spend so much abroad that some foreigners are calling us the ‘walking wallets’, ” said Song Rui, director of the Tourist Research Center at CASS.

The British government said last month that it is set to launch a campaign to attract more Chinese travellers.

UK Culture Secretary Maria Miller has said that Britain will become the most welcoming destination in Europe for Chinese visitors.

“The new ‘China Welcome’ initiative shows how serious we are about making sure Britain is ahead of the competition when it comes to attracting Chinese businesses and tourists,” said Miller.

Hotel groups, including Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, have designed new services specifically for Chinese customers.

Since August 2013, all of Hilton’s hotels worldwide are providing a customized service called “Hilton Huanying” for Chinese guests.

 

Source: Agencies

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