Tourism numbers see steady rise
The number of times Chinese and foreigners with local residency permits visited tourist spots within China reached more than five billion in 2017, up 12.8 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, the number of inbound and outbound visits reached 270 million, 3.7 percent higher, according to a report by the National Tourism Administration on Tuesday.
The number of inbound visits increased to over 139 million in 2017, up 0.8 percent from 138 million in 2016, the report says.
The report shows 17 countries, including Myanmar, Vietnam and South Korea, are the main sources of visitors with nearly 43 million people paying visits to China in 2017. Visitors from Asian countries made up the greatest share of inbound visits, reaching 74.6 percent.
Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy, said: "The statistics show a prosperous landscape for the tourism industry. We are optimistic about the tourist sector in 2018 as the number of inbound visits is predicted to reach 140 million this year."
China's tourist revenue totaled 5.4 trillion yuan ($860 billion) last year. Together with other related industries, the country's tourism industry contributed 9 trillion yuan of GDP in 2017, which takes up 11 percent of the total.
Tourism revenue from foreigners visiting China reached $12.34 billion in 2017, with a year-on-year rise of 2.9 percent. Consumption created by travelers from foreign countries in China on things like hotels and restaurants amounted to $69.5 billion, according to the report.
"This year there will likely be a 5 percent increase in inbound travel and foreign exchange earnings from the business is expected to reach $127 billion," said Dai.
The report also shows that tourist attractions offering recreation and leisure activities have become the most popular travel destinations among visitors, attracting 37.1 percent of travelers visiting China in 2017.
Optimism is on the rise over the development of tourism as more and more people in China choose travel as a way of enjoying their holidays.
Wang Xiaofeng, deputy head of the National Tourism Administration, said statistics from the data center of the administration show that 83 percent of Chinese intend to embark on a domestic visit in the first quarter of 2018.
"It is estimated that the number of domestic visits will reach 385 million during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday with income of 476 billion yuan," he said at a news conference on Tuesday.