UNWTO: Chinese tourists spent 12% more abroad in 2016

Outbound tourism from China, the world’s leading outbound market, continues to break records.

Chinese tourists spent 12% more in 2016 than the year earlier, maintaining the trend of double-digit growth in tourism expenditure every year since 2004, according to preliminary data by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

China’s international tourism spending grew by $11 billion to $261 billion last year and the number of outbound travelers rose 6% to 135 million.

The growth in outbound travel from China benefited many destinations in Asia and the Pacific, most notably Japan, the Republic of Korea and Thailand, but also long-haul destinations such as the United States and several in Europe.

#2 U.S. maintains strength

The United States maintains its position asthe world’s second largest source market. Tourism spending from the U.S. increased 8% in 2016 to $122 billion. This was $9 billion more than in 2015. For a third year in a row, strong outbound demand was fueled by a robust US dollar and economy, says UNWTO.

The number of U.S. residents traveling to international destinations increased 8% through November 2016 (74 million in 2015).

By contrast, Canada, the second source market from the Americas in the top ten, reported flat results, with $29 billion spent on international tourism, while the number of outbound overnight trips declined by 3% to 31 million.


Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy lead tourism spending in Europe

Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy are the four European markets in the top ten and all reported growth in outbound demand last year. Germany, the world’s third largest market, reached $81 billion, up 5%, in international tourism spending last year, rebounding from weaker figures in 2015.

Demand from the UK, the world’s fourth largest source market, remained sound despite the depreciation of the British pound in 2016. UK residents’ visits abroad were up by 5 million (+7%) in 2016 to 70 million, with expenditure close to $64 billion.

France, the world’s fifth largest market, reported 7% growth in tourism expenditure in 2016 to reach US$41 billion. Italy recorded 1% growth in spending to US$25 billion and a 3% increase in overnight trips to 29 million.


Other top Asian markets

Aside from China, three other Asian outbound markets among the first ten showed very positive results. The Republic of Korea ($27 billion) and Australia ($27 billion) both spent 8% more in 2016 and Hong Kong (China) entered the top 10 following 5% growth in expenditure ($24 billion).