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Globetrotting Chinese top tourist index- UN
April 5, 2013, 11:14 am

[Getty Images]

Chinese expenditure on foreign travel climbed to $102 billion last year [Getty Images]

Chinese tourists are now the biggest travellers in the world says the United Nations.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation confirmed on Thursday that 2012 saw China become the top tourist source market in the world.

Chinese expenditure on foreign travel climbed to $102 billion in 2012.

Chinese shoppers account for about one third of luxury purchases in Europe’s luxury market.

Data also shows an eightfold increase in the number of overseas trips made by Chinese travellers from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012.

Chinese tourists are also one of the biggest spender according to the new UN data.

There is a 40 per cent increase in spending from $102 billion in 2012 from $73 billion in 2011.

Taleb Rifai, general secretary of the UNWTO was quoted by Xinhua as saying that China’s tourist figures are “absolutely impressive”.

“The Chinese economy is opening up, it is growing and the rise of the middle class in China is a very important phenomenon, it is probably one of the main reasons behind this absolutely impressive growth in the outbound figures and data,” he said in January this year.

“China is the third visited destination in the world today and all of this makes China very special to us,” he added.

China overtook Germany and the US last year in terms of tourist expenditure.

Other BRICS members, Russia and Brazil have also seen their significance increase, shaping a remapping of world tourism.

Russia has seen a 32 per cent rise in international tourist spending in 2012, while Brazil moved up to 12th place with expenditure of $22 billion.

The Kremlin in Moscow has witnessed the launch of “Tourism Year of China” 2013, which will look to help boost travel industries of both China and Russia.

Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, attended the opening ceremony.

According to Russian tourism official data, 343,000 trips were made from China to Russia in 2012, up 47 per cent year on year.

In Europe demand for cross-border travel is due to rise by only 2 per cent in 2013, compared with 7 per cent for Asia, according to Reuters.

“The British and the Germans are not getting richer…and the times of flying for 10 pounds from London to Spain are ending,” Wolfgang Georg Arlt of Chinese tourism research institute COTRI was quoted by Reuters.

In an article for The BRICS Post, Firas Al-Atraqchi had quoted Peter Greenberg, CBS News travel editor as predicting 2013 travel trends and said that foreign travellers will dominate the tourism industry.

“It’s not us anymore – it’s the Chinese, the Russians, the Indians and the Brazilians.”

With inputs from Agencies