China keeps position as Asian leader in outbound tourism

BEIJING, Dec 14, 2006 (AFP) – China has consolidated its position as the Asia leader in outbound tourism, with 28.6 million Chinese travelling overseas in the first 10 months of the year, state media said Thursday.

The number marked an increase of 10.8 percent from the same period last year, the China Daily reported, citing the State Tourism Administration.

The number of outbound Chinese tourists rose from 12 million in 2001 to 31 million in 2005.

Part of the reason is that the number of countries that Chinese tourists can travel to is now 132, up from a mere 18 five years ago.

However, in terms of expenditures by the outbound travelers, China still lags behind Japan, the newspaper said.

It cited a global list from the World Tourism Organization putting Japan in a worldwide fourth spot, ahead of China at number seven.