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97 million Chinese tourists went abroad in 2013
Nearly 100 million Chinese tourists visited foreign countries last year, a number that is likely to grow further in the future, along with Chinese national's status as the world's biggest-spending travellers.
Citing official data from the National Tourism Administration, the China Daily reported that a total of 97 million Chinese tourists left the country last year, up 14 million from the previous year.
The figures underline the rapid rise in the numbers of Chinese travelling abroad, who numbered just 29 million in 2004.
Chinese travellers spent US$102 billion overseas in 2012, making them the world's biggest spenders ahead of Germans and US tourists, and are almost certain to have surpassed that record last year, the report said, citing researcher Song Rui.
China's economy has boomed over the past decade, expanding the ranks of its middle class, who are hungry for foreign travel after the country's decades of isolation in the last century.
European Union and Asian countries have moved to ease visa application procedures for Chinese tourists in recent years, keen to cash in on their big-spending habits.
Song, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted as saying "Chinese tourists spend so much abroad that some foreigners are calling us 'walking wallets'."
Australia and New Zealand are competing with global destinations to woo Chinese visitors although a recent study by Travelzoo has found that Australia had dropped from first to seventh place as the preferred location for Chinese tourists.
Image: A Chinese tourist learns to surf on Sydney's Manly Beach.
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