Thanks to its rich tourist resources -- high mountains, elegant rivers, springs and waterfalls, rich and varied folk customs, rare species, scenic spots and historical sites, distinctive opera, music and dance, and world-famous cuisine -- China attracts a large number of domestic and foreign tourists every year.
Today, China has one of the world's largest domestic tourist markets and an outbound market growing at a rate unequalled anywhere. In 2004, the incoming tourists reached 109.038 million person-times, 19 percent up on 2003; foreign exchange revenue from tourism reached US$ 25.74 billion, a 47.8 percent year-on-year increase; the number of tourists from the 16 main source countries hit a record level, far surpassing the 2003 total.
China is emerging as the country with the world's highest growth rate for outbound tourism. According to a survey conducted by an international tourism monitoring agency of Asia-Pacific region, the average daily expenses (excluding purchases) of a Chinese tourist during one long holiday amounts to US$175; a German Chamber of Commerce survey shows average daily expenses of US$110 in Germany, second to American tourists' US$117; the Swiss Information Network report puts the figure for Switzerland at US$313, the highest spend for any source country.
According to the World Tourist and Travel Council (WTTC), China's travel industry may grow by 10.4 percent a year over the next 10 years, lifting China to fourth rank in terms of industry size. The World Tourism Organization predicts that by 2020 China will be the world's top tourist destination, and fourth in outbound tourist numbers with 100 million Chinese people traveling abroad every year.