Tourism in China has greatly expanded over the last few decades since the beginning of reform and opening. The emergence of a newly rich middle class and an easing of restrictions on movement by the Chinese authorities are both fueling this travel boom. China has become one of the world's most-watched and hottest inbound and outbound tourist markets. The world is on the cusp of a sustained Chinese tourism boom.
China is the third most visited country in the world. The number of overseas tourists was 55.98 million in 2010. Foreign exchange income was 45.8 billion U.S. dollars, the world's fourth largest in 2010. The number of domestic tourist visits totaled 1.61 billion, with a total income of 777.1 billion yuan.
According to the WTO, in 2020, China will become the largest tourist country and among the largest for overseas travel. In terms of total outbound travel spending, China is expected to be the fastest growing in the world from 2006 all the way to 2015, jumping into the number two slot for total travel spending by 2015.
China's growing economy is also generating a surge in business travel. The country received about 5 million visitors on business visas in 2013. In China, the percentage of sales dependent on business travel is higher (38%) as compared to the US (21%) and 28% in the UK, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council's 2013 business travel forecast for the Asia-Pacific region.
China's tourism revenue reached $185 billion in 2009.