hile China may be more known these days for its outbound tourists, the number of inbound travelers arriving in the Middle Kingdom is ever-growing. In fact, by the end of the next decade, China is expected to receive more visitors than any other country… sorta.
According to a new report released this week by Euromonitor International, a London-based market research firm, China will surpass France as the world’s most popular tourist destination by 2030 thanks to major investments in the tourism industry and less restrictive visa policies. At the moment China ranks 4th with just over 60 million international tourist arrivals in 2017, behind only France, Spain, and the United States.
However, the catch here is that these numbers from the World Tourism Organization count travelers from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan as “international arrivals,” meaning that Chinese state media has to be careful when gloating about this report. For instance, in 2017, the China Tourism Academy estimated that China welcomed just 29.1 million “foreign visitors,” a number that wouldn’t even place the country on the top 10 of the World Tourism Organization’s list.
While less pronounced, similar problems crop up when evaluating China’s world-leading 145 million outbound trips last year, of which 69.5 million were to Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan. However, it’s certainly true that more and more mainland Chinese tourists are now heading further overseas with Thailand becoming their favored destination.