A foreign tourist bargains for a deal at a market in Beijing. Inbound visitors are able to claim tax refunds on purchases made in China at designated stores, but purchases from private vendors are not eligible. [Photo/China Daily]
More than 137 million overseas tourists will visit China in 2016, a jump of 2.5 percent from the previous year.
This would be the second year of growth in inbound tourism after the country saw years of decline in foreign tourists since 2011.
During the annual work meeting held on Jan 29, China National Tourism Administration set its development goal for 2016. The international tourism revenue in 2016 is expected to reach $121 billion, an increase of 6.5 percent.
Earlier, China Tourism Academy, a think tank under China National Tourism Academy, also confirmed the trend. It predicted more than 138 million overseas tourist would visit China.
Li Shihong, deputy head of the administration, said second- and third-tier cities, as well as small towns such as Wuzhen of Zhejiang province, Yueyang of Hunan province and Tongli of Jiangsu province, will play a leading role in attracting overseas tourists.
“Second- and third-tier cities and small towns have unique culture symbols, beautiful landscape and have preserved history in their daily lives better [than modern cities]. All those are attractive factors to frequent visitors to China,” said Li. “Besides, the high-speed railway network has connected small towns and also made them more accessible than before. It is a great timing for them to develop inbound tourism industry.”