2016 was another strong year for outbound tourism from China, the world’s leading outbound market. International tourism expenditure grew by US$ 11 billion to US$ 261 billion, an increase by 12% (in local currency). The number of outbound travellers rose 6% to 135 million in 2016. This growth consolidates China’s position as number one source market in the world since 2012, following a trend of double-digit growth in tourism expenditure every year since 2004.
The growth in outbound travel from China benefited many destinations in Asia and the Pacific, most notably Japan, the Republic of Korea and Thailand, but also long-haul destinations such as the United States and several in Europe.
Aside from China, three other Asian outbound markets among the first ten showed very positive results. The Republic of Korea (US$ 27 billion) and Australia (US$ 27 billion) both spent 8% more in 2016 and Hong Kong (China) entered the top 10 following 5% growth in expenditure (US$ 24 billion).
Among the largest 50 source markets, there were another nine that recorded double-digit growth in spending in 2016: Vietnam (+28%), Argentina (+26%), Egypt (+19%), Spain (+17%), India (+16%), Israel and Ukraine (both +12%), Qatar and Thailand (both +11%).
By contrast, outbound tourism from some commodity exporters continued to be depressed as a consequence of their weaker economy and currencies. Expenditure from the Russian Federation declined further in 2016 to US$ 24 billion. International tourism spending from Brazil also decreased in 2016.