Mainland China has so far suffered an 8.2% drop in foreign visitor numbers this year — in line generally with the rest of the world.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) says that across the globe tourism numbers have dropped this year by 8%, due to the combined effects of the H1N1 or swine flu virus and the continued economic downturn.
But the good news for China is that domestic tourist figures have risen by 11.7% this year — and the numbers of Chinese taking their holidays overseas has increased by 1.1%.
Roger Carter, of Team Tourism Consulting, which advises the UNWTO, told the China Daily newspaper, "China’s current focus on the internal market is exactly the right thing to do.”
China’s hotel market meanwhile has continued to grow regardless — although at a lesser rate than in previous years. The W Hotels Group — part of the Starwood chain, the world’s largest — has confirmed that is pulling out of a planned multi-million development in Shanghai.
Industry observers are predicting a glut in hotel rooms due to general expansion and development across the country which is, of course, to the benefit of the tourist.
According to the property consultants Colliers International, rates for five-star hotels have dropped by between 15 and 25% since 2006 as they struggle with occupancy rates of around 50%.
The Independent England said, despite this, hotels keep being built. Hospitality industry consultants Horwath say there will be 75,651 new rooms available in China next year, bringing the total number of rooms to 913,399.