Chinese overseas tourist numbers climb in 2014

Chinese overseas tourist numbers climb in 2014
PHOTO: ST

BEIJING - More than 100 million Chinese traveled abroad last year, state media reported Friday, marking an almost 20 percent increase from the year before.

The official Xinhua news agency said that about 107 million Chinese ventured overseas in 2014 for leisure, citing a report by the China Tourism Academy, an institute under the China National Tourism Administration.

Xinhua quoted Dai Bin, the head of the academy, as saying the rising number of tourists going abroad was due to more relaxed visa policies in receiving countries.

The report predicted that the number of Chinese tourists heading overseas will increase more than 16 percent next year, Xinhua said.

The academy's report also said that Chinese tourists spent $164.8 billion while overseas last year, a total about four times higher than in 2008, Xinhua reported.

Chinese tourist numbers have dramatically increased over the past two decades as the economy has boomed to become the world's second largest.

The country's currency, the yuan, has also steadily strengthened over a period of years, making overseas holidays more affordable.

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