Chinese police Shu Jian (1st L) and Sa Yiming (2nd L) talk with two tourists from Beijing outside the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, May 2, 2016. (Xinhua/Jin Yu)
MADRID, April 13 (Xinhua) -- The world's leading outbound market, China, spent 12 percent more on tourism abroad in 2016 according to preliminary data by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The data show that China's international tourism spending grew by 11 billion U.S. dollars to 261 billion dollars, consolidating "China's position as number one source market in the world since 2012, following a trend of double-digit growth in tourism expenditure every year since 2004".
Chinese citizens especially travelled to Japan, the Republic of Korea and Thailand, but also to the United States and some other destinations in Europe, the WTO said.
Chinese market was followed by the U.S. market, whose spending rose by 8 percent in 2016 to 122 billion dollars, up 9 billion dollars on 2015.
In Europe, Germany, Britain, France and Italy are those markets included in the top 10, all reporting growth in outbound demand in 2016, with Germany being the world's third largest market with a 5 percent increase in international tourism spending in 2016 to 81 billion dollars.
"Despite the many challenges of recent years, results of spending on travel abroad are consistent with the 4 percent growth to 1.2 billion international tourists arrivals reported earlier this year for 2016," UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said.
"People continue to have a strong appetite for travel and this benefits many countries all around the world, translating into economic growth, job creation and opportunities for development," he added.