A record 1 billion tourists crossed international borders in 2012, and Chinese travelers are becoming a bigger and bigger part of it. Chinese travelers weren’t even visible in most markets a decade ago, but now they pack practically all destinations. In 2012, more than 83 million Chinese went abroad, according to the UN World Tourism Organization. That’s up nearly 20% from 2011, and it’s an eight fold increase over 2000. The Germany-based China Outbound Tourism Research Institute expects Chinese travelers to top 100 million within the next year, and the institute’s director, Wolfgang Georg Arlt, projects 18% to 20% annual growth for many years into the future.
The world needs to get ready to absorb that many extra tourists. And especially tourists spending money: UNWTO figures show that year on year, Chinese tourists spent 30 percent more when travelling abroad in 2012 than previous year.