China, once again lead the world in international outbound tourism spending. Figures released Wednesday, 12 April by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) showed Chinese tourists spending $261b traveling to other nations in 2016, 12% higher than in 2015 and more than twice the $102b spent in 2012. Around 135m Chinese nationals made a trip abroad in 2016, up 6% year-on-year.
In terms of international tourist arrivals, the Asia-Pacific region posted the biggest year-on-year gains, rising 8% to 309m, while Europe remains the most popular travel region with 615m
The data show that China’s international tourism spending grew by 11 billion US dollars to 261 billion dollars, consolidating “China’s position as number one source market in the world since 2012, following a trend of double-digit growth in tourism expenditure every year since 2004”.
Chinese tourist spending has enjoyed double-digit growth every year since 2004 and the 2016 results mark the fifth straight year in which Chinese tourists have outspent all other countries.
“The growth in outbound travel from China [in 2016] benefited many destinations in Asia and the Pacific, most notably Japan, [South] Korea and Thailand, but also long-haul destinations such as the United States and several in Europe,” UNWTO stated.
For many regulated casino jurisdictions in Asia, mainland Chinese tourists are much-sought for their perceived interest in gambling. In Macau the only place in the People’s Republic of China where casino gambling is legal, mainland Chinese account for approximately two thirds of the total tourist arrivals.
Several Asian countries including the Philippines, South Korea and Russia are currently developing clusters of casino resorts. Some analysts have said that could be an attempt to recreate the sort of appeal that Las Vegas and Macau have for Chinese tourists as must-visit gambling and entertainment destinations.
The UNWTO 2016 rankings placed United States tourists second on the spending chart with $122b (+8%), followed by Germany ($81b), the UK ($64b) and France ($41b). Among the largest 50 source markets, Vietnam enjoyed 2016’s biggest percentage gain, rising 28% from 2015.
“Despite the many challenges of recent years, results of spending on travel abroad are consistent with the 4 percent growth to 1.2 billion international tourists arrivals reported earlier this year for 2016,” UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said.
“People continue to have a strong appetite for travel and this benefits many countries all around the world, translating into economic growth, job creation and opportunities for development,” he added