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BEIJING - China is widely anticipated to overtake Germany and United States to become the world's biggest source of outbound travelers by the end of this year, an industry insider said Thursday.
The remarkable achievement is well ahead of predictions, Matt Thompson, project director for the China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market, said at a tourism fair held in Beijing.
For the last few years, China has been leading the trend and the latest figures confirm the dramatic rise of China as a source for outbound tourism, he said.
The China Tourism Academy put the final figures at approximately 70 million overseas trips made by Chinese mainlanders in 2011, an increase of more than 20 percent from the 57.4 million trips taken in 2010.
This year, it is predicted that about 78 million Chinese will travel overseas, and the consumption generated from outbound tourism will hit a record high of $80 billion, Thompson said.
He said several factors have contributed to the growth, including the expansion of China's middle class, increasing support from the Chinese government, the relaxation of visa application procedures and the appreciation of China's currency.