Visitor arrivals to China have continued to decline in 2013.
According to the latest data from the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), reported by Xinhua, international visitor numbers to the mainland fell 5% in the January-September 2013 period, to 19.4 million.
While the decline was spread across all major inbound markets, arrivals from Asian countries saw the sharpest drop. A total of 11.8m Asian travellers visited mainland China in the nine-month period, down 6% year-on-year, with Japanese arrivals slumping 24% as territorial tensions between Asia’s two biggest economic powers rumbled on.
Visitor arrivals from North and South America fell 3% to 2.3m, while the number of travellers from Europe and Oceania dropped 4% and 5% respectively. Only Africa registered year-on-year growth in the nine-month period, rising 4% to 400,700 visitors.
While the latest CNTA data appears not to include arrivals from Hong Kong and Macau, the 2013 results continue the downward trend that started last year. In 2012 mainland China welcomed a combined total of 133m international visitors, down 1.5% year-on-year. Only 57.4m of these stayed overnight however – a level almost unchanged from 2011.
The Chinese government has attempted to boost its inbound tourism figures this year, with the roll-out of a visa-waiver scheme for transit tourists visiting the key cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu.
But data from Beijing’s tourism bureau revealed that arrivals to the capital in the first six months of the year plunged 14.3% to 2.1m, including a 55% drop in arrivals from Japan.