Thanks to a burgeoning currency and a growing middle class, Chinese travelers are poised to transform the landscape of tourism, just as Americans did when they took to the road en masse in the 1950’s and 60’s. Assisted by the construction and expansion of 10 airports across the country, and despite restrictions that allow travel only in guided groups and to locations approved by the government, China’s outbound tourism is booming. The numbers are expected to grow at an average rate of 13 percent for the next 13 years, the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization reports, making the Chinese the fastest-growing group of travelers worldwide.

Growth in China’s Outbound Tourism by Destination 2001-2005

Australia +80%
Germany +76%
Indonesia +248%
Japan +67%
Philippines +467%
Singapore +72%
South Korea +47%
Switzerland +123%
Thailand +10%
UK +59%
USA +16%
Vietnam +12%