China overtook France to occupy the fourth place last year in the ranking of the world’s top spenders on international tourism, the UN World Tourism Organization said on Wednesday.
Chinese tourists spent US$43.7 billion on their travels abroad last year, propping up other economies by eating out, occupying hotel rooms and visiting attractions, it said in its latest bulletin.
That compares to US$36.2 million in the previous year when China was the world’s fifth biggest source of tourism spending.
“In crisis-ridden 2009 expenditure still increased by a whopping 21 percent,” the Madrid-based body said. “Of the other nine top spenders, only one recorded positive growth. Just the Netherlands, occupying the 10th position, increased spending by a very modest 0.4 percent.”
Germany remained the world’s top international tourism spender last year, spending US$80.8 billion on their travels, down from US$91 billion in the previous year, followed by the US and Britain.
The World Tourism Organization estimated that the number of Chinese tourists going abroad will number 100 million by 2020, up from 31 million in 2005 when it was the seventh biggest spender on foreign travel.
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