Chinese spent $215 billion on 2015 overseas travel

Updated: 2016-03-24 13:54

By AI HEPING in New York(China Daily USA)

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Despite a slow economy and stock market turmoil at home, people from the Chinese mainland spent $215 billion traveling abroad in 2015, 53 percent more than in 2014, according to a global report on travel and tourism.

Travel and tourism spending grew globally by 3.1 percent, contributing 9.8 percent to global GDP, according to the annual report released on Monday by the World Travel and Tourism Council, a London-based nonprofit that researches the global effect of tourism. The industries now support 284 million jobs, an increase of 7.2 million.

"Terror attacks, disease outbreaks, currency fluctuations and geopolitical challenges have impacted the sector at a country or regional level, but travel and tourism at the global level continue to produce another robust performance," said Council president David Scowsill.

China's outbound spending was not matched by incoming travelers, the report said, with spending by foreign visitors increasing just 3 percent last year.

Chinese favor longer haul destinations such as Europe and Oceania, while severe declines were experienced in places such as Macao, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the report said, citing local factors without further explanation.

Japan was one of the biggest beneficiaries from China's outbound travel boom last year due to the devaluation of Japanese currency and a relaxed visa policy for Chinese tourists, the council said. Spending by Chinese tourists in Japan grew by almost half compared with 2014.

The report put China ahead of the US and other developed countries as the top global source of tourists, both in the number of trips made and money spent on overseas trips.

The China National Tourism Administration and the United Nations World Tourism Organization said Chinese mainland tourists made a record 120 million trips overseas last year, making one in every 10 international travelers from China.

Council president David Scowsill said China had made unparalleled investment in infrastructure, creating a good foundation for the further expansion of tourism.

"Interest in inbound tourism into China will thrive if there is resolve on continuing visa facilitation into the country and focusing on strong destination promotion," Scowsill said.

The strong US dollar helped increase travel to favorite destinations for US vacationers, including Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Spending by US travelers abroad increased 6.3 percent in 2015; spending by foreign visitors to Canada grew 8.5 percent and increased 28.9 percent to Mexico, the council reported.