Robust growth in international tourism is continuing, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. 2018 witnessed the ninth consecutive year of growth in the sector, despite occasional shocks that have only served to demonstrate its stability and resilience. China has kept its leading position in the global tourism market since 2012 with outbound tourists spending almost 277 billion U.S. dollars last year, around one fifth of the world’s total spending on tourism.
Due to a combination of factors such as the emergence of a newly rich Chinese middle class, easing travel restrictions by the Chinese authorities, simplified destination visa policies, and increasing numbers of direct flight connections from China, Chinese citizens became the largest contributors to the global outbound tourism market and the main source of tourism cash across the world. While Chinese tourists are still famous for spending thousands on high-end luxury foreign brands, new spending behavior trends are emerging, particularly among more experienced Chinese travelers. In 2017, Chinese travelers turned more towards enjoying niche sectors like whisky tasting, aurora chasing, outdoor activities and other high-quality and less mass-oriented products and experiences.
This chart shows international tourism expenditure in 2018 (in billion U.S. dollars).
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