A crowd gathers at the Exit-Entry Administration Office of Nanjing public security bureau on Tuesday to apply for overseas trips. During the first half of March, more than 16,000 Nanjing citizens submitted their applications.[Wang Chengbing/For China Daily]
Nation biggest market in Asia; 100 million people forecast to travel
BEIJING: More mainland tourists are expected to spend money on overseas travel this year, said a report by a think tank to the national tourism authority.
The Annual Report of China Outbound Tourism Development 2009-2010, released by the China Tourism Academy on Thursday, estimated that 54 million tourists would go abroad this year, up from 47 million in 2009.
They are expected to spend 48 billion yuan ($6.86 billion) overseas, up 14 percent from a year earlier, the report said.
"The outbound travel market of the Chinese mainland will remain brisk this year, continuing to contribute to the recovery of the world economy and helping to offset China's trade surplus," said Jiang Yiyi, director of the academy's international tourism development institute.
Despite the continued growth in numbers, the global financial crisis exerted an influence on mainland tourists' choice of destinations.
Only some 12.88 million tourists visited foreign countries last year, accounting for 27 percent of the total, which is lower than 34 percent in 2008 and 29 percent in 2007.
According to Jiang, the report showed many people cut their travel budgets, choosing to visit neighboring regions, rather than those far away.
The majority, 73 percent, visited Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, as well as Taiwan province.
The academy, which interviewed 2,600 tourists in major cities in January, found the demographics of this market are people aged between 25 and 44, with high incomes and educational backgrounds.
While more than half of them said shopping is their biggest expenditure, the survey found mainland tourists tend to give a low score when asked to rate their satisfaction over shopping and the service of travel agencies.
Dai Bin, deputy chief of the academy, said countries should provide more services and facilities in Chinese, in order to enhance satisfaction rates.
China is now the biggest tourist market in Asia, with 100 million people forecast to travel overseas by 2020.
Spotting the huge market potential, countries have increasingly started to do what they can to lure more tourists.
Zhang Jun, marketing manager of the German National Tourism Board's Beijing office, said Germany's railway system would soon open an office in China to provide more information to Chinese tourists who wish to travel by train in Europe.