NANJING – Over 2 million Chinese tourists are expected to visit the United States, and 3 million U.S. tourists will visit China, by 2015 if the current momentum of rapid outbound tourism growth continues, a chief Chinese tourism official said here Sunday.
The optimistic forecast by Shao Qiwei, head of the National Tourism Administration (NTA), came at a dialogue on tourism cooperation between government departments, tourism travel services, hotels and airlines from both countries.
The dialogue opened Saturday in Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province, and will continue until Wednesday.
According to the NTA statistics, arrivals of Chinese tourists in the United States jumped 33 percent from one year ago to 730,000 during the first eight months this year, while 1.33 million U.S. tourists traveled to China during the January-August period, up 17 percent year on year.
“China and the United States share broad prospects of tourism development as both countries have become major sources of tourists for one another,” Shao told the meeting.
Shao said China’s tourism industry has boomed as the country’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP) reaches 4,000 U.S. dollars this year.
“The Chinese government will attach greater importance to the development of tourism and take effective measures to facilitate a sound and rapid growth of the industry,” he said.
China’s tourists spent 43.7 billion U.S. dollars overseas in 2009, and about 54 million Chinese tourists will travel overseas and spend 48 billion U.S. dollars this year, according to a report by the China Tourism Academy.
The report said China’s outbound travelers will top 100 million and their spending overseas will total 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2015.
China has signed agreements with about 140 countries allowing Chinese residents to visit those tourist destinations.