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Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort

How China is changing travel and tourism

New analysis finds that three new hotels will open every single day in China for the next 23 years.

Three new hotels will open every single day in China for the next 23 years, analysis by Cornell University in the US finds. China is expected to become the world’s top travel destination within the next five years, passing the current leader France.

Much of the boom in hotel construction is being fuelled by domestic tourism. “China has embarked on the largest program of new hotel construction the world has ever seen,” according to Cornell.

China has also built the world’s biggest high-speed train network and countless new airports, Travel Weekly writes, and President Xi has even ordered a toilet revolution, to install clean and comfortable restrooms across the country.

The massive Belt and Road Initiative will see China spend almost $1 trillion dollars on transport infrastructure projects linking it with Asia and parts of Africa – dwarfing the US’s post-war Marshall Plan to rebuild Western Europe.

Varied visitors
Around the world, meanwhile, Chinese tourists are now as varied as those from any other country – from the middle, rich and very rich classes – and are usually happy to spend lots of money. Fewer are travelling in groups.

“Some still enrage destinations with their thoughtlessness. Others are welcomed for their enthusiasm and unique points of view. Above all, the Chinese are changing tourism around the world,” Travel Weekly says.

For the fourth year in a row, the Chinese are the world’s biggest group of international travellers, with 142 million international trips in 2017. In the 2020s, that is expected to leap up to 390 million.

“China has the Pacific world of tourism on a platter, and it is about to have Europe and Africa on a platter,” thinks Jonathan Tourtellot, a former senior editor and director at National Geographic who is now chief executive of the non-profit Destination Stewardship Center.

They also spend the most, $258 billion last year. And only 7% of Chinese citizens actually hold passports.

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