According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), China will become the world’s flagship tourism destination as the largest host country worldwide and the fourth largest to send tourists abroad by 2020.
This paper focuses on the growing marketplace for the Chinese tourism industry and evaluates the current industry trends, evolving market and growth prospects of the tourism industry, focusing on inbound tourists, i.e. international visitors from abroad.
2. Tourism in 21st century China
During the State Council executive meeting in November 2009 Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced that tourism will be emphasized as a strategic pillar industry in the national economy and listed it on the top of the agenda of the national economic and social development.
Since 2000, investment in the tourism industry has increasingly constituted a larger proportion of the national economy and the State of China has taken several measures in order to support and promote the industry’s development. Hence the tourism industry has been emerging fast as one of China's most important economic driving force and occupies a highly significant position in the national economy.
2.1. Industrial Policies by the Government
The publication of the book “Deng Xiaoping on Tourism” by the Chinese government in 2000 can be seen as a prelude to China’s self-declared goal of becoming one of the top tourist countries in the world. The book contains five statements that Deng made on developing China's tourism industry back in the 70s.
Strategic measures and policies by the government, i.e. the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, include the reduction of market monopoly and state domination. Entry barriers into the tourism market have been lowered and a lot of effort has been made to improve technical and infrastructural standards (e.g. highways, promenades, water and power supply systems as well as sewage and garbage treatment plants) in order to meet international levels.
These encouraging governmental policies have proven to be a positive incentive for the rapid growth of the tourism industry and have achieved fruitful results quickly. Table 1 shows the constant increase in tourist visitor numbers and revenues from 1999 to 2009. The majority of inbound tourists are still residents from Hong Kong and Macau, obviously due to their geographic proximity to the mainland.
Despite not so optimistic predictions, in 2004 the China National Tourism Administration aimed at an annual growth of 4 - 8% of the number of incoming tourists, foreign exchange earnings from tourism as well as for the domestic market size. After a decrease of inbound tourists and tourist revenues in 2003 due to SARS, the industry recovered quickly, hence exceeding the government’s goals by far: In 2006 revenues of China's tourism industry almost doubled, compared to 2003, with a total of 33,5 billion US dollars.
2007 the industry saw a growth rate of more than 25% in revenues year on year.
In 2008 and 2009 the number of inbound trips shrank due to the global financial crisis and the swine flu. Resulting from this, foreign exchange revenues in 2009 fell 4,5% year on year. However, domestic travels in 2009 increased, generating a plus of 15% in revenues compared to 2008.
 All figures given in this paper rely entirely and solely on publications by the Chinese government and its tourism authorities.
 World Tourism Organisation (2009), Milestone in China’s Tourism Policy.
Online: http://www.unwto.org/media/news/en/features_det.php?id=5271&idioma=E (2009-12-18)
 People’s Daily Online (2000), Seminar on Deng Xiaoping's Contributions To Tourism Industry.
Online: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/english/200003/29/eng20000329R104.html (2000-03-29)
 AllBusiness (2004), Reduction of Barriers to Entry and Positive Industrial Development Policy.
Online: http://www.allbusiness.com/travel-hospitality-tourism/lodging-hotels-motels/5556314-1.html (2004-12-09)
 China Knowledge Press (2004), China Tourism Industry.
Online: http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c2965 (2004-09)
 Chinatour Online (2008), China Tourism and Travel Related Statistics.
 China National Tourism Administration, CNTA (2010), 2009 Annual Report on Tourism Economy Operation. Online: http://en.cnta.gov.cn/html/2010-1/2010-1-11-14-7-74560.html (2010 - 01-11)
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- FOM Hochschule für Oekonomie & Management gemeinnützige GmbH, Berlin früher Fachhochschule – MBA EurAsia
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