China to become world's top tourist destination by 2015

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Sanya (China), Mar 22(ANI): The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, has said that China is expected to become the world's largest tourist destination by 2015.

Rifai stressed that China's tourism economy has moved incredibly in the last ten years, and said: "As we predict, China is going to become the world's No. 1 tourist destination by the year 2015."

"China is almost there. It is now the world's fourth largest destination when it comes to incoming tourists, and the rates of growth are moving so quickly that we think this is a realistic target," Xinhua news agency quoted Rifai, as saying.

"The number of incoming tourists rose from eight million to 48 million. The potential of the growth is still big because of the size of China," he added.

He informed that currently France receives most international tourists; at 80 million people per year, followed by the United States and Spain, both at 60 million a year, while China has about 48 million.

Rifai further said that the global tourism industry is improving, but challenges remain due to the weak economy.

"The tourism industry has to follow and is very much affected by the general economic situation, and for sure the general economic situation has started to turn around. But we cannot call it a ull recovery at the moment," he said. (ANI)

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