China to over­take France as No. 1 tourist spot

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Travel - By Pan Py­las

LON­DON — China is set to over­take France as the world’s No. 1 tourist des­ti­na­tion by 2030 as a grow­ing mid­dle class in Asia looks to spend more on travel, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts at mar­ket re­search group Euromon­i­tor In­ter­na­tional.

In a re­cent re­port, Euromon­i­tor said it is pre­dict­ing there will be 1.4 bil­lion trips made in 2018, up 5 per­cent from last year.

By 2030, in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals are ex­pected to have risen by an­other bil­lion. China is ex­pected to have over­taken France by then to be­come the world’s top des­ti­na­tion.

Much of the sus­tained boom in travel and tourism is cen­tered in the Asi­aPa­cific re­gion, where trips are ex­pected to grow by 10 per­cent this year. The re­gion has ben­e­fited from rapidly grow­ing economies as well as an ex­pand­ing mid­dle class that seeks to spend dis­pos­able in­come on leisure.

Euromon­i­tor’s se­nior travel an­a­lyst, Wouter Geerts, said the grad­ual process of loos­en­ing visa re­stric­tions has made trav­el­ing in the re­gion eas­ier, with 80 per­cent of ar­rivals in Asia orig­i­nat­ing from the re­gion.

He also said sport­ing events will likely fur­ther boost the re­gion, with Tokyo host­ing the 2020 Sum­mer Olympic Games and Bei­jing the 2022 win­ter event.

Other bright spots in the fore­cast are coun­tries like Egypt, Tu­nisia and Turkey, which have seen sharp falls in tourist num­bers over the past few years linked to se­cu­rity con­cerns.

Europe is also prov­ing re­silient and grow­ing strongly de­spite eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal tur­moil in some coun­tries and a slew of ex­trem­ist at­tacks in re­cent years.

Euromon­i­tor warned that the U.S. tourism in­dus­try could face a hit if the trade ten­sions be­tween the U.S. and China es­ca­late. As the mid­dle class in Asia ex­pands, China is poised to be­come the world’s top tourist des­ti­na­tion by 2030.

GETTY

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