China Tourism: 2016 Statistics and 2017 Economic Predictions
I. China Tourism Statistics in 2016
In 2016, China tourism economy witnessed a quite rapid growth thanks to the development of all-for-one tourism. The advent of the era of mass tourism brought with it a further consolidated market foundation, more proactive industry investments and innovations, and more profound economic and social impacts. The tourism industry had become a major force to stabilize growth, readjust the structure, and improve people’s livelihood. The domestic tourism industry catered to 4.44 billion domestic tourist trips, up 11% compared with the previous year; inbound and outbound tourism registered a total of 0.26 billion trips, an increase of 3.9% compared with the previous year; and the annual tourism revenue reached 4690 billion yuan, 13.6% greater than the previous year.
(1) Domestic Tourist Trips Increased by 11%
Findings of a survey of China domestic tourism showed that the domestic tourism industry registered 4.44 billion tourist trips in 2016, up 11% compared with the previous year, of which 3.195 billion were urban residents and 1.24 billion were rural residents, up 14.03% and 4.38% respectively. Domestic tourism revenue reached 3.94 trillion yuan, 15.19% greater than the previous year, of which 3.22 trillion yuan was contributed by urban residents and 0.71 trillion by rural residents, an increase of 16.77% and 8.56% respectively.
Percentage of Domestic Tourist Trips by Urban and Rural Residents in 2016
(2) Inbound Tourist Trips and Inbound Overnight Tourist Trips increased by 3.8% and 4.2% respectively
In 2016, inbound tourist trips amounted to 138 million, up 3.5% from the previous year, of which 28.15 million were made by foreigners, 81.06 million by Hong Kong residents, 23.5 million by Macao residents, and 5.73 million by Taiwan residents, up 8.3%, 2.0%, 2.7%, and 4.2% respectively. In terms of the means of transportation, 3.4% tourists entered China by ship, 16.4% by air, 0.8% by train, 21.9% by car, and 57.5% by foot.
Percentage of Inbound Tourist Trips by Foreigners, Hong Kong Residents, Macao Residents, and Taiwan Residents in 2016
Hong Kong Residents
In 2016, inbound overnight tourist trips reached 59.27 million, up 4.2% from the previous year, of which 21.65 million were foreigners, 27.72 million Hong Kong residents, 4.81 million Macao residents, and 5.09 Taiwan residents, up 6.7%, 2.3%, 3.1%, and 5.0% respectively.
Percentage of Inbound Overnight Tourist Trips by Foreigners, Hong Kong Residents, Macao Residents, and Taiwan Residents in 2016
Hong Kong Residents
(3) International Tourism Revenue Reached 120 billion USD
In 2016, China’s international tourism revenue reached 120 billion USD, up 5.6% from the previous year, of which 66.8 billion USD were contributed by foreigners, 30.5 billion by Hong Kong residents, 7.6 billion by Macao residents, and 15 billion by Taiwan residents, up 10.3%, 2.3%, 3.1%, and 5.0% respectively.
(4) 67.5% of Inbound Foreign Tourists Came from Asia and 33.4% came for Sightseeing and Leisure
In 2016, inbound tourist trips by foreigners reached 31.48 million【1】, of which 67.5% came from Asia, 10.7% from America, 17.3% from Europe, 2.6% from Oceania, and 1.9% from Africa. In terms of the age group of visitors, 3.6% were less than 14 years old, 9.6% between 15 and 24 years old, 46.8% between 25 and 44, 34.3% between 45 and 64, and 5.7% older than 65.In terms of the gender group, male visitors accounted for 63.0% while female visitors accounted for 37.0%. In terms of the purpose of travel, 18.4% came to China to attend meetings or for business purposes, 33.4% for sightseeing and leisure, and 3.1% to visit family members or friends. 15.0% came as service providers while another g 30.1% came for other purposes.
Percentage of Inbound Foreign Visitors by Continent
Percentage of Inbound Foreign Visitors by Age Group
Less than 14 years old
15-24 years old
25-44 years old
45-64 years old
Older than 65 years old
Percentage of Inbound Foreign Visitors by Purpose of Travel
Visiting Family Members and Friends
As Service Provider
In 2016, the top 17 【2】 key source markets for China’s tourism industry included: Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Myanmar, USA, Russia, Mongolia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, India, Thailand, Canada, Australia, Indonesia, Germany, and UK as sorted by the number of inbound tourists to China.
(5) Outbound Tourist Visits by Chinese Nationals reached 122 million
In 2016, outbound tourist visits by Chinese nationals reached 122 million, up 4.3% from the previous year. Expenditure on outbound tourism amounted to 109.8 billion USD, an increase of 5.1% compared with the previous year.
II. Predictions on China Tourism Economy in 2017
1. Domestic tourism is expected to maintain a rapid growth
2017 is an important year in terms of implementing the 13th Five-Year Plan and further promoting the supply-side structural reform. The tourist market in China is expected to expand steadily and the country’s tourist industry will continue to lead its economic growth through innovative development.
Tourism in China is now characterized by a higher level of the development of mass tourism, more focus on daily leisure, and differentiated recreational requirements. As leisure tourism becomes part of the daily life of the common people, domestic demand for tourism remains robust. In 2017, domestic tourist visits are expected to rise 10.0% to 4.88 billion.
2. Inbound tourism continues to improve
As the domestic tourist market continues to improve, the inbound tourist market will maintain its momentum of steady recovery and enter a fast growth path. In 2017, inbound tourist visits are expected to reach 143 million, generating 126 billion USD of international tourism revenue
3. Outbound tourism becomes more rational
Due to the rapid growth of domestic leisure tourism, the depreciation of RMB, the comprehensive development of trans-border electronic commerce and other factors, the outbound tourist market will enter a stage of relatively stable development. In 2017, outbound tourist visits are expected to reach 127 million.
 Including citizens from neighboring countries that are currently staying on the Chinese side of the border (originally included in the data provided for our Bureau by the Ministry of Public Security)
 For figures concerning Vietnam, Myanmar, Russia, Mongolia, and Indonesia, citizens from these countries that are currently staying on the Chinese side of the border were included. Source: China National Tourism Administration Data Center