Last year, Chinese made more than 5.5 billion domestic trips, with an average of four trips per person, which suggests that China has entered the era of mass tourism, said the country’s minister of tourism and culture Luo Shugang.
Luo made the remarks during a passage interview on the sidelines of the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) on March 8.
According to statistics released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in February, Chinese nationals made 5.54 billion domestic trips and the number of inbound and outbound tourists totaled 291 million in 2018, marking a year-on-year increase of 10.8 percent and 7.8 percent respectively.
Preliminary calculations indicated that the aggregate contribution of tourism to China’s GDP was 9.94 trillion-yuan last year, accounting for 11.04 percent of the GDP. The sector created 79.91 million direct and indirect jobs, contributing 10.29 percent of the country’s total employment.
The rapid development of the domestic tourism market is attributable to the development of cultural resources, said the minster.
As an important cultural resource, museums have become popular tourist destinations, Luo said. By the end of 2018, the number of museums in China had exceeded 5,000, nearly 90 percent of which are free and open to the public.
The commemorative exhibition of the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up being held at National Museum of China has received more than 3 million visitors since its opening, setting records of daily visitors to the museum time and again.
The rapidly increasing tourist number also puts a higher demand on tourism environment. Reports confirm that last year, relevant departments built and renovated about 30,000 restrooms in scenic areas, and they will solve the restroom shortage and improve sanitation of toilets in two or more years.
Luo said in order to create a better tourism market, the ministry will strengthen management, such as tightening supervision over hotels, restaurants, tour guides and the shopping sector, and resolutely cracking down on bad conducts such as fraud, swindling money out of customers, unreasonable low-cost travel products, and forcing tourists into shopping.
China has also brought a significant number of tourists to foreign destinations. The number of outbound Chinese tourists reached 150 million in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 14.7 percent. The country has become the world’s biggest source of tourists.
Shanghai Pudong International Airport started to see a rising number of outbound tourists on Feb. 6, 2019. Tour groups are the major form of outbound travel. Photo from CFP