China continued to make rapid strides in the global tourism market with about 107 million people from the country making outbound trips last year, a new report said.
According to the China outbound tourism development report published by China Tourism Academy, a think tank under the National Tourism Administration, the nation has been the biggest source of outbound travelers in the world for the last three years.
Last year, the number of Chinese tourists who traveled abroad exceeded 100 million for the first time, climbing 19.5 percent year-on-year.
The number of travelers from western regions, second and third tier cities and rural areas are expected to rise, the report said, without making any estimates.
The most popular tourist destinations for Chinese travelers were South Korea, followed by Thailand, Japan, the United States and Vietnam.
Dai Bin, head of the academy, said Hong Kong and Macao are also major travel destinations for tourists from the Chinese mainland.
"Despite the growth in the number of travelers, only about 5 percent of the Chinese population hold passports, and most tourists only undertake short-distance trips. Overseas travel has not yet become a national trend," he said.
The report said that favorable tourism policies have driven the growth of the Chinese tourism market. Many countries have introduced or are set to introduce visa exemptions or visa-on-arrival policies for Chinese travelers, and such policies are conducive for the growth in tourist traffic.
In addition, UnionPay credit card, a dominant bank card organization in China, has become the top choice of payment for Chinese travelers overseas. The acceptance of UnionPay cards are an important factor that contributes to travelers' satisfaction levels, the report said.
More than 40 percent of the Chinese travelers spent more than 15,000 yuan ($2,340) on their outbound trips. Shopping still tops the spending by Chinese travelers, with 88 percent of the travelers' expenditure dealing with shopping.