Chinese tourists spent a record $164.8 billion overseas last year — a 28 percent increase over 2013 — as disposable income rose and more people ventured abroad.
Travelers from China spent $113.6 billion more overseas than foreign tourists spent while visiting the country, according to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. That so-called tourism deficit was almost 50 percent larger than the previous year’s figure.
The latest numbers reflect how rising wealth in China has flowed overseas in the years since 2002, when China eased many restrictions on foreign travel. Disposable income rose a nominal 10.1 percent last year, outpacing the economy’s nominal 8.2 percent expansion.
“More and more ordinary Chinese are putting tourism expenses on their list of priorities,” Ge Lei, a marketing manager in China CYTS Tours Holding Co., said before the data was released.
The number of Chinese traveling abroad reached 109 million, topping 100 million for the first time, while inbound tourism trips fell almost 1 percent to 128 million, the China National Tourism Administration said.
Ctrip.com International Ltd., the country’s largest online travel agency, forecasts 15 percent to 20 percent growth of outbound tourism this year.
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