Chinese tourists splurged $43.7 billion on their travels abroad in 2009 despite the economic downturn, propping up other economies by eating out, occupying hotel rooms and visiting attractions.
That compares to $36.2 million in the previous year when China was the world’s fifth biggest source of tourism spending.
"Of the other nine top spenders only one recorded positive growth. Just the Netherlands, occupying the 10th position, increased spending by a very modest 0.4%."
While most of China’s 1.3 billion people live on just a few dollars a day, the country is producing a burgeoning middle class that can dwarf the populations of many other countries and who are eager to travel abroad.
The World Tourism Organisation estimated that the number of Chinese tourists visiting foreign destinations will number 100 million by 2020, up from 31 million in 2005. By which time it will lead the world.
Sydney Morning Herald reports that in 2007 China issued advice for the record number of its citizens who are travelling overseas.
The list of holiday dos and don’ts said tourists should avoid shouting and drawing attention to themselves, and respect local culture and traditions.
What it did not say was bring your money with you. That advice was plainly not needed.