KUNMING, Nov. 23(Xinhuanet)-- China is rising rapidly as a new major source of outbound tourists in the world, with 25.76 million Chinese citizens traveling abroad in the first ten month this year, up 8 percent year-on-year.
According to Liu Kezhi, a senior official with the China National Tourism Administration, about 76 countries and regions have so far engaged in the business of outbound group tours for Chinese citizens.
Outbound travel by Chinese citizens started in 1997 with destinations consisting merely of Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines as well as China's Hong Kong and Macao. Only 5.32 million Chinese citizens traveled abroad the same year, the official said.
Outbound travel market of Chinese citizens has been growing fast ever since, the official noted.
In 2002, the number of Chinese outbound tourists reached 16.6 million, while in 2004 the number rose to 28.85 million.
For the first ten months of 2005, outbound Chinese tourists reached 25.76 million, an increase of 8.03 percent year-on-year.
An obvious feature of Chinese citizens traveling abroad is that the proportion of outbound tours of Chinese citizens on public duty or for commercial affairs has decreased year after year, the official added.
According to the statistics of the World Tourism Organization, the outbound travel expenditure of Chinese citizens in 2002 stood at 15.4 billion US dollars, increasing by 11 percent over that of 2001 and ranking seventh in the world.
The total number of outbound tourists worldwide stood at 702 million in 2002 with an average annual growth of 2.7 percent.
While the average annual growth for Chinese citizens traveling abroad hit 36.84 percent in the same year, much higher than the worldwide average growth rate. Enditem