Tourism boom provides enduring momentum to China's economy

(Xinhua) 13:52, May 21, 2024

SHANGHAI, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Tourism is increasingly emerging as a strategic pillar industry in China, serving as a focal point of the country's high-quality development.

Since the initiation of reform and opening up in 1978, especially since 2012, the country's tourism sector has entered a fast lane of development. China has become the biggest domestic tourism market in the world, the largest source of international tourists, and a main destination for international travelers.

Over the past decades, Chinese people have witnessed unprecedented improvements in living standards, with absolute poverty eradicated and the realization of a moderately prosperous society. Tourism has become a burgeoning demand among Chinese people seeking a better quality of life.

Between 2012 and 2021, the average annual growth rate of domestic tourism revenue stood at 10.6 percent, while from 2012 to 2019, the number of domestic tourist trips doubled. In 2023, China recorded 4.89 billion domestic travel trips, marking a staggering 93.3-percent surge from the previous year. Moreover, domestic travelers spent over 4.91 trillion yuan (about 691 billion U.S. dollars) throughout the year, reflecting a notable increase of 140.3 percent from 2022.

The enduring popularity of traditional attire Hanfu, intangible cultural heritage items, museums, and well-preserved ancient towns and streets illustrates the vigor of cultural and tourism consumption nationwide. The mushrooming cultural and tourism hotspots underscore the immense potential and dynamism of China's economic development.

The flourishing tourism market has been buttressed by enhanced infrastructure, increases in residents' incomes and the introduction of innovative tourism products, among other factors. The emergence of smart tourism represents a novel facet of consumption, with technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence seamlessly integrated into consumption scenarios, thereby fostering new immersive and interactive experiences.

The range of tourist attractions has extended beyond traditional natural landscapes and cultural monuments to encompass rural areas, ice-and-snow attractions, revolutionary sites and theme parks.

As China endeavors to improve modern tourism systems and advance high-quality tourism development, tourism consumption is expected to assume an increasingly pivotal role in bolstering domestic demand. It is estimated that every 1 yuan of tourism industry income stimulates 4.3 yuan of revenue in related industries.

Meanwhile, thanks to its commitment to openness, China's burgeoning tourism sector also represents a significant opportunity to enhance mutual learning and exchanges between civilizations. In 2023, China welcomed 82.03 million inbound tourists, while domestic residents made 100.96 million outbound trips.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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