CHINA, Dec 4 – Chinese travellers have taken 100 million “outbound” trips this year, officials said, with the vast majority visiting Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
Just under four percent of the 100 million trips counted up to the end of November were to Europe, China’s state tourism administration said Wednesday, while 90 percent were within Asia.
Although Beijing considers self-governing Taiwan as part of China along with Hong Kong and Macau, the tourism administration said that nearly 71 percent of “outbound” trips were to the three territories.
The total number of people travelling abroad was not given but the figures call into doubt previous reports that some 97 million Chinese did so last year.
Six countries – South Korea, Thailand, Japan, the United States, Vietnam and Singapore – have seen more than one million trips by Chinese citizens so far this year, the administration said on its website.
China’s economy has boomed over the past decade, expanding the ranks of its middle-class who are hungry for foreign travel after the country’s decades of isolation in the last century.
European Union and Asian countries have moved to ease visa application procedures for Chinese tourists in recent years, keen to cash in on their big-spending habits.
Chinese travellers spent $102 billion overseas in 2012, making them the world’s biggest spenders ahead of Germans and US tourists, the UN World Tourism Organization has said.