Chinese travelers were the world’s top spenders in 2016, shelling out the equivalent of US$261 billion.
That’s according to the latest figures from the UN’s World Tourism Organization, which show that Chinese tourists spent 12% more, or US$11 billion, than they did the previous year.
After China, the US, Germany, the UK and France round out the ranking of the world’s top five tourist spenders.
In addition to shelling out more money on travel, China also saw its outbound market rise six percent to 135 million in 2016, consolidating its position as the No. 1 source market for tourism in the world since 2012.
The most popular destinations for Chinese travelers include Japan, Korea and Thailand, along with the US and Europe.
Tourist spending among Americans also rose eight percent in 2016 to reach US$122 billion, while the number of Americans traveling to international destinations likewise spiked eight percent.
By contrast, results were flat north of the border, with the number of outbound overnight trips declining three percent to 31 million trips among Canadian travelers.
Meanwhile, the leading outbound tourism markets in Europe — Germany, the UK, France and Italy — also reported growth in tourism spending and outbound visits.
Germans spent US$81 billion in 2016; Brits spent US$64 billion; France spent US$41 billion; and Italy spent US$25 billion.