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Tourism in China

Tourism in China

China recorded a total of 163 m tourists in 2019, ranking 3rd in the world in absolute terms.

The fact that larger countries regularly perform better in a comparison of the absolute number of guests is obvious. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of China, the result is much more comparable picture: With 0.12 tourists per resident, China ranked 145th in the world. In East Asia, it ranked 6th.

China generated around 40.39 bn US Dollar in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 0.27 percent of its the gross domestic product and approximately 21 percent of all international tourism receipts in East Asia.

A global comparison can be found here › International tourism


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Most popular destinations in China

No less than 7 cities in China are among the top 100 most popular destinations worldwide. In 2019 Hong Kong reached the 1st place with 26.72 m tourists. According to Euromonitor, all foreign tourists with at least one overnight stay were counted.

CityTouristsRankChange
Hong Kong26,716,800#1-8.7%
Shenzhen12,324,100#14+1.0%
Guangzhou9,006,300#240.0%
Shanghai7,745,500#32+3.5%
Beijing4,070,400#61+1.7%
Zhuhai3,324,900#70+2.0%
Guilin2,980,500#78+8.5%


Tourism in ChinaOn average, each of the tourists arriving in 2018 spent about 223 US Dollars. Conversely, the inhabitants of China spend as much as 1,622 dollars a year when they themselves spend vacations abroad.

Development of the tourism sector in China from 1995 to 2019

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in China each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g. crew members of ships or flights are also not considered as tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

Data in the chart are given in millions of tourists. The red line represents the average of all 6 countries in East Asia.

Tourists per year in China

Revenues in tourism

In 1995, tourism revenues amounted to 8.73 bn USD, or about 1.2 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 46.39 m tourists at that time and roughly 188 USD per person. Within 23 years, the country's dependence on tourism has decreased substantially. In the last year of the survey, the revenue now amounts to 40.39 bn USD, accounting for 0.29 percent of the gross national product. Each visitor now spends an average of 255 USD for his holiday in China.

Tourism receipts in China per year

All data for China in detail

YearNumberof touristsReceipts% of GNPIncome per tourist
2019162.54 m
2018158.61 m40.39 bn $0.29 %255 $
2017153.26 m38.56 bn $0.31 %252 $
2016141.77 m44.43 bn $0.40 %313 $
2015133.82 m44.97 bn $0.41 %336 $
2014128.50 m44.04 bn $0.42 %343 $
2013129.08 m51.66 bn $0.54 %400 $
2012132.41 m50.03 bn $0.59 %378 $
2011135.42 m48.46 bn $0.64 %358 $
2010133.76 m45.81 bn $0.75 %343 $
2009126.48 m39.68 bn $0.78 %314 $
2008130.03 m40.84 bn $0.89 %314 $
2007131.87 m37.23 bn $1.0 %282 $
2006124.94 m33.95 bn $1.2 %272 $
2005120.29 m29.30 bn $1.3 %244 $
2004109.04 m27.76 bn $1.4 %255 $
200391.66 m18.71 bn $1.1 %204 $
200297.91 m21.74 bn $1.5 %222 $
200189.01 m19.01 bn $1.4 %214 $
200083.44 m17.32 bn $1.4 %208 $
199972.80 m15.01 bn $1.4 %206 $
199863.48 m13.23 bn $1.3 %208 $
199757.59 m12.63 bn $1.3 %219 $
199651.13 m10.20 bn $1.2 %199 $
199546.39 m8.73 bn $1.2 %188 $


All data correspond to the information of the World Tourism Organization.

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