China is very rich in tourism resources, attracting many domestic and foreign tourists every year to its beautiful mountains, rivers, springs and waterfalls, its rich and varied folk customs, handsome old buildings, scenic spots and historical sites too many to count, to its rare flora and fauna, inimitable opera, music and dance, to its world-famous cuisine.
Today, China has one of the largest domestic tourism markets in the world and an outbound tourism market with the highest rate of growth in the world. In 2005, the number of incoming tourists exceeded 120.29 million person-times, 10.3 percent up on the pre-vious year; foreign exchange revenue from tourism rose to US$29.3 billion, 13.8 percent more than in 2004; the number of incoming tourists from the 16 main source countries also hit a new high, far surpassing the 2004 total.
World Tourism Organization statistics show that China's outbound tourism is the fastest growing of any emerging tourist source in the world and that China is Asia's leading source country for outbound tourism. So far, China has approved 100 countries and regions as tourist destinations for Chinese citizens traveling at their own expense, 63 of which can be reached through formal agencies, including more than 30 European countries.
The average consumption expenditure of Chinese citizens traveling abroad has become one of the highest in the world. According to the statistics of China Travel Monitor under the IPK International, the average daily expenses of a Chinese tourist in one long holiday is US$175, (excluding purchases); A German Chamber of Commerce survey shows that Chinese tourist in Germany has average daily expenses of US$110, second only to an American tourist's US$117; the Swiss Information Network puts the figure for Switzerland at US$313, the highest for any source country.
According to the estimate of the World Tourist and Travel Council (WTTC), China's tourist and tourism industry may grow by an annual rate of 10.4 percent over the next 10 years, making China the world's fourth biggest tourist economy. The World Tourism Organization predicts that by 2020 China will become the world's top tourist destination, and fourth in outbound tourist numbers, with 100 million Chinese nationals traveling abroad every year.