Caixin
Mar 05, 2018 06:19 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

China Outbound Tourism Hits Record High in 2017

Chinese tourists visit Bangkok on March 10, 2017. The two most popular overseas destinations for Chinese tourists last year were Thailand and Japan, with 9.8 million and 7.4 million visitors respectively. Photo: VCG
Chinese tourists visit Bangkok on March 10, 2017. The two most popular overseas destinations for Chinese tourists last year were Thailand and Japan, with 9.8 million and 7.4 million visitors respectively. Photo: VCG

Buoyed by rising incomes, favorable exchange rates and easier visa processes, outbound travel from China hit another record last year, a new survey showed.

Chinese people made 130.5 million trips overseas last year, a 7% jump over 2016, while total spending increased by 5% to an estimated $115.3 billion, according to a report released by top Chinese travel services provider Ctrip and the China Tourism Academy, a state-backed research institute.

Last year, China was the biggest source of tourists to 10 nations — Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Russia, the Maldives, Indonesia, North Korea and South Africa — the report said. The two hottest destinations were Thailand and Japan, attracting 9.8 million and 7.4 million visitors respectively.

But Chinese shunned South Korea last year, with the number of visits plunging by 48.3% to 4.17 million, the report said, attributing the drop to cooling bilateral relations after Seoul agreed to deploy the U.S. THAAD missile defense system in the country, a move Beijing opposed.

In addition to Thailand, other Southeast Asian countries are winning over Chinese hearts, according to the report, which said that Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines rose up the popularity rankings and into the top 10 most-visited regions during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Vietnam received more than 4 million visits from Chinese travelers last year, a surge of 48.6% year on year, a jump the report attributed in part to President Xi Jinping’s visit for the summit of leaders from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group of economies in Da Nang.

Contact reporter Jason Tan (jasontan@caixin.com)

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