10 January 2014
New figures from China show that the country has consolidated its position as the world's biggest source of tourists. A total of 97 million Chinese tourists travelled abroad in 2013, according to China's National Tourism Administration.
Click to hear the report
Whatever measure you choose, Chinese tourists now top the global rankings. Last year just shy of 100 million Chinese made foreign trips. And collectively they spent well over $100bn overseas outstripping any other nationality.
Little more than a generation ago few Chinese ventured abroad. But the restrictions have gone, most are now free to travel, although some minorities like Tibetans still complain of hurdles getting passports.
And as China's economy has expanded, so have people's horizons. China's new middle classes want to see the world. The most popular destinations are in Asia and Europe, Thailand for beaches, France for history and culture.
Britain, which requires a separate visa to the rest of Europe, has lagged behind. It received just 200,000 Chinese visitors two years ago, and is now trying to simplify the process so it doesn't miss out on China's new spenders.
Click here to hear the vocabulary
(here) lists displaying countries according to numbers taking holidays
- shy of
almost; a little less than
went on a risky journey
obstacles; (here) many requirements to be fulfilled
- miss out
fail to take part in