Sorry, France: China to become the world’s No. 1 travel destination by 2030

LONDON (AP) — China is set to overtake France as the world’s number one 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 report published Tuesday at an industry conference in London, Euromonitor said it is predicting there will be 1.4 billion trips made in 2018, up 5 percent from last year. Stronger growth in many major economies mean industry receipts will rise by an estimated 11 percent.

By 2030, international arrivals are expected to have risen by another billion, corresponding to around $2.6 trillion in receipts. China is expected to have overtaken France by then to become the world’s number one destination.

Much of the sustained boom in travel and tourism, which has outpaced growth in the global economy for eight years, is centered in the Asia-Pacific 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 travelling 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.

“Tourism is a key pillar of the Chinese economy, and much investment has been made to improve infrastructure and standards, in addition to tourism-friendly policies and initiatives,” he said.

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