“China, which has outranked Japan as the world’s second-largest economy and moved ahead of Russia as the world’s second-largest military spender, has hit the top spot in global tourism.
“Chinese tourists spent US$102 billion during their travels in 2012, more than any other nationality, making the Asian nation the world’s number one tourism source market, according to a report released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
“Asked if China will be able to hold on to the number one ranking inyears ahead, Lakshman Ratnapala, chair of Enelar International, San Francisco, and emeritus president and chief executive officer of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), told IPS, ”Yes, the primary reason being the continuing growth of the Chinese middle class.”
“The steady rise in Chinese household incomes leading to more widespread disposable incomes will propel the travel habit, a common feature in affluent societies of the West, he said.In 2005, China ranked seventh in international tourism expenditure, and has since successively overtaken Italy, Japan, France and the United Kingdom, according to UNWTO. With last year’s surge, China leaped to first place, surpassing the top spender, Germany, and the United States. Both of these counties spent close to $84 billion in 2012, UNWTO said.”