Riding on the China tourism boom

Rise of middle class, improvements in travel infrastructure among factors driving growth

Tourists at the ruins of St Paul's Church, a 17th-century Portuguese complex, in Macau. Chinese citizens' thirst for travel is only just warming up with growing affluence and rising consumer confidence.
Tourists at the ruins of St Paul's Church, a 17th-century Portuguese complex, in Macau. Chinese citizens' thirst for travel is only just warming up with growing affluence and rising consumer confidence.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

For those watching China closely, a fast-growing investment theme has persistently outpaced gross domestic product (GDP) growth for over a decade.

Since 2006, total Chinese tourism spending has expanded at a whopping 18 per cent per year on average - outpacing average GDP growth of 9 per cent. At the same time, the total number of trips made by Chinese tourists has steadily increased by an average of 12 per cent a year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 08, 2018, with the headline 'Riding on the China tourism boom'. Subscribe