There was a time, not too long ago, when #China was a country isolated from the outside world. Prior to 1978, few citizens were permitted to travel beyond the nation’s borders and, of those who did travel abroad, almost none of these were trips in the name of leisure.
It was not until the 1990s that China really started to relax its ‘Approved Destination Status’ tourism policy, over time expanding its list of ‘allowed’ tourist #destinations to encompass over 110 countries.
Today, with an estimated 83 million trips abroad each year, the Chinese are the biggest source of global #tourism income. In 2012, according to data released by the UN World Tourism Organisation, Chinese tourists spent $102 billion (£67 billion) on travelling abroad, a 40% increase on the year before and far exceeding the next two highest spending countries, the #USA and #Germany.
It is little wonder, therefore, that destination countries are all vying for a slice of the Chinese tourist pie; as Chinese holiday spending has increased, so too have efforts to capture it. Hotel chains and travel companies have formulated specially tailored programmes to cater exclusively to the needs and preferences of Chinese guests; others are sending staff on language courses to help their Chinese visitors to feel right at home.
All of this marks a remarkable change in #fortune for China’s citizens, with the world not simply opening up for them, but catering specifically to them. As more and more Chinese start to travel, it can only be said that they are the #future of tourism.