Communique on Tourism Statistics

National Tourism Administration

Affected by the outbreak of SARS, China's tourist industry suffered a serious setback in 2003. This was the first time that the country's tourist industry shrank after a steady expansion for more than a dozen years running.

In the year, China hosted 91.662 million overseas tourists, down 6.4% from 2002. Domestic tourists numbered 870 million, down 0.9%. The total tourism business turnover amounted to 488.2 billion yuan, down 12.3% from 2002.

On June 24, 2003, the World Health Organization announced that the restriction imposed on traveling to Beijing was removed and that Beijing was no longer regarded as an epidemic stricken area. Following that, the Chinese government, the tourism services and related businesses adopted measures to step up tourism. The overall returns of the whole year were better than originally expected.

1. Overseas Tourist Arrivals  

--The 91.662 million tourists from overseas in 2003 included 11.402 million foreign tourists, 15.1% less than in the preceding year; 58.77 million compatriots from Hong Kong, down 5%; 18.75 million compatriots from Macao, down 0.9%; and 2.73 million compatriots from Taiwan, down 25.4%.

--Overseas tourists who stayed overnight totaled 32.97 million, down 10.4%. Among them were 8.89 million foreigners, down 17%; 21.7 million Hong Kong and Macao compatriots, down 5.2%; and 2.378 million compatriots from Taiwan, down 25.5 %.

--Business income derived from overseas tourists totaled 17.4 billion U.S. dollars, down 14.6% from 2002.

2. Domestic Tourists

--Of the 870 million domestic tourists in 2003, 351 million were urban residents and 519 million were rural residents.

--China's tourist industry received an income of 344.23 billion yuan from domestic tourists in 2003, 11.2% less than in 2002. Of the total, 240.4 billion yuan were earned from urban residents and 103.819 billion yuan from rural inhabitants.

--Domestic tourists spent an average of 395.7 yuan each on their tours in 2003, down 45.9 yuan from 2002. Urban people spent an average of 684.9 yuan each while rural residents spent an average of 200 yuan each.

--In the peak periods of tourist industry, i.e., the Spring Festival and the October 1 National Day each with one week of holidays, the 149 million domestic tourists brought the industry a total income of 60.36 billion yuan.

3. Tourism Services and Their Employees

--A total of 304,400 hotels, travel agencies and other tourist services were in operation in China at the end of 2003, an increase of 3.6% over a year ago. Of them, 283,800 were hotels and establishments with lodging accommodations, including 9,800 star hotels, 80,100 non-star hotels of different types, and 194,000 hotels run by self-employed people. In addition, there were 13,361 travel agencies, and 7,205 travel businesses at major tourist spots, tourist buses and boats.  

--By the end of 2003, China's tourist industry had a total fixed asset of 843.92 billion yuan, up 2.4% over 2002.  Of the total, the fixed assets of tourist hotels and other lodging accommodations were worth 701.35 billion yuan, accounting for 83.1% of the total. The fixed assets included those of star hotels (291.55 billion yuan), non-star hotels of different types (357.21 billion yuan), and hotels run by self-employed people (52.58 billion yuan). Fixed assets owned by travel agencies were valued at 38.78 billion yuan, accounting for 4.6% of the total.  The fixed assets of travel businesses at major tourist spots and tourist buses and boats totaled 103.78 billion yuan, accounting for 12.3% of the total.

--China's tourist industry directly employed 6.487 million people at the end of 2003, an increase of 5.9% over a year ago. Of these, 5.414 million people were employed by hotels and other establishments with lodging accommodations, accounting for 83.5% of the employees. Travel agencies employed 249,800 people, while travel businesses at major tourist spots and tourist buses and boats employed 823,300 people. In addition, indirect employees of the tourist industry numbered 32.44 million.

4. Overseas Tourists Source Markets

Foreign market

The number of foreign tourist arrivals plummeted to 11.402 million in 2003, down 15.1% from the preceding year.

--The number of foreign tourists arrivals from Asian countries declined 16%, accounting for 63.7% of foreign visitor arrivals, and the market share of these Asian tourists was down 0.6 percentage point. Among the Asian visitors, the number of visitors from Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan dropped over 10%. Yet the number of visitor arrivals from India, Nepal, and Kazakhstan rose.

--Except for those from Africa, tourist arrivals from other continents all went down. Tourists from Africa increased by 5.8% whereas the number from Europe, the Americas and Oceania declined 8.1%, 24.9% and 15.1% respectively. Except for Russia, the number of tourist arrivals from all other major foreign source markets were down by double-digit percentages. Tourists from Britain were down 15.9%; those from Germany, down 21.2%; from France, 29.7%; from the United States, 26.6%; from Canada, 20.9%; and from Australia, down 15.8%. Tourist arrivals from Russia rose to 1.38 million, up 8.6%.

The number of tourist arrivals from the 16 major tourism source countries and the percentage of their increases or decreases are as follows (listed in the order of the number of arrivals):

Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regional Market

--Tourist arrivals from the Hong Kong market in 2003 numbered 58.77 million, down 5% from the preceding year. Of these, 18.655 million stayed overnight, down 5.9%; accounting for 31.7% of the visitors from Hong Kong; and the rest 40.114 million spent one day on the mainland, down 4.6%, accounting for 68.3% of the Hong Kong visitors.

--Tourists from the Macao market numbered 18.757 million, down 0.9%. Of these, 3.046 million stayed overnight, down 0.6% from 2002, accounting for 16.2% of the visitors from Macao. Those who spent one day on the mainland totaled 15.71 million, down 1%, and accounting for 83.8% of the visitors from Macao.

--A sharp decrease was reported in the number of tourists from the Taiwan market. Tourist arrivals from the Taiwan market numbered 2.73 million, down 25.4%.

5. Reception of Overseas Tourists and Business Income earned thereof by Provinces and Autonomous Regions

--The tourist services in the provinces, autonomous regions and those municipalities under the direct jurisdiction of the central government received a total of 30.169 million overseas tourists in 2003, down 22.9% from the preceding year. Twenty-one of these administrative areas received over 200,000 tourists each, including Guangdong, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Beijing, Zhejiang, Fujian, Yunnan, Liaoning, Shandong, Guangxi, Heilongjiang, Tianjin, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Inner Mongolia, Hubei, Hainan, Anhui, Hebei, Chongqing, and Jilin. Guangdong hosted 11.969 million tourists in 2003, leading all other provinces and autonomous regions.

--The tourist services in the provinces, autonomous regions and those municipalities under the direct jurisdiction of the central government hosted 15.06 million foreign tourists in 2003, down 24.2% from 2002. Twenty-four of these administrative areas hosted over 100,000 foreign tourists each, including Guangdong, Shanghai, Beijing, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Liao-ning, Yunnan, Shandong, Heilongjiang, Fujian, Tianjin, Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Hubei, Shaanxi, Hebei, Sichuan, Jilin, Chongqing, Anhui, Xinjiang, Hainan, Henan and Hunan. Guangdong received 2.457 million foreign tourists, ranking first in the country.

--Seventeen provinces, regions and municipalities earned from overseas tourists upwards of 100 million U.S. dollars each in 2003, four administrative areas less than in 2002. They were Guangdong, Shanghai, Beijing, Jiangsu, Fujian, Zhejiang, Liaoning, Shandong, Yunnan, Tianjin, Heilongjiang, Shaanxi, Guangxi, Sichuan, Inner Mongolia, Hubei and Chongqing.  Guangdong, with a international tourism business income of 4.26 billion U.S. dollars, continued to rank first in the country.

6. Reception of Overseas Tourists and Business Incomes Derived thereof by Major Cities

--Twentythree cities hosted upwards of 200,000 overseas tourists each in 2003, 3 less cities than in the preceding year. These cities were Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Zhuhai, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Zhongshan, Xiamen, Nanjing, Tianjin, Guilin, Kunming, Quanzhou, Wuxi, Dalian, Qingdao, Xi'an, Fuzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Wuhan and Ningbo. Another 8 cities hosted over 100,000 overseas tourists each, including Shenyang, Shantou, Huangshan, Harbin, Sanya, Yanbian, Yantai and Wenzhou.

--Twenty-four cities received over 100,000 foreign tourist arrivals each, five less than in the preceding year. The cities were Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Tianjin, Dalian, Nanjing, Qingdao, Wuxi, Xi'an, Kunming, Guilin, Xiamen, Chongqing, Wuhan, Shenyang, Fuzhou, Chengdu, Ningbo, Yanbian, Zhuhai and Harbin. 

--Twenty-two cities earned from overseas tourists incomes upwards of 100 million U.S. dollars each, 2 cities less than in 2002. These cities were Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Nanjing, Xiamen, Quanzhou, Suzhou, Dalian, Fuzhou, Zhongshan, Qingdao, Wuxi, Xi'an, Kunming, Chongqing, Shenyang, Guilin and Chengdu.  Another six cities, Ningbo, Wuhan, Shantou, Nantong, Yantai and Harbin earned from overseas tourists business upwards of 50 million U.S. dollars each. Shanghai's foreign exchange income reached 2.053 billion U.S. dollars, ranking first in China in tourism foreign exchange earnings.

7. The Sizes of Star Hotels and Their Performance

The size of the star hotels grew as a whole in 2003 compared with the preceding year, yet their occupancy rate declined.

--Star hotels numbered 9,751 at the end of 2003, 871 more than a year ago, an increase of 9.8%. The star hotels have 992,800 rooms, 95,600 more, up 10.7%. They have 1.88 million beds, up 9.2%.

--The star hotels have fixed assets totaling 291.55 billion yuan, up 9.1% compared with a year ago.

--The annual occupancy rate of the star hotels averaged 56.14% in 2003, down 4.01 percentage points.

--The total business income of the 9,751 star hotels amounted to 98.316 billion yuan in 2003, up 7.5%. They handed over 4.95 billion yuan of business tax to the State, up 1.8%. Their all-employee labor productivity came to 72,800 yuan per person, down 3.2%.

--The 5,622 State-owned star hotels all over the country earned a total business income of 40.96 billion yuan and handed over 1.949 billion yuan of business tax to the State. Their all-employee labor productivity reached 57,100 yuan per person.

--The 678 star hotels established by foreign investors and businessmen from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan received a total business income of 30.34 billion yuan in 2003 and handed over 1.65 billion yuan of business tax to the State. Their all-employee labor productivity came to 162,700 yuan per person.

--Of the 9.751 star hotels in China in 2003, 198 were 5-star hotels, 23 more than in 2002; 727 were 4-star hotels, an increase of 92 hotels; 3,166 were 3-star hotels, an increase of 320 hotels; 4,864 were 2-star hotels, an increase of 450 hotels; and 796 were 1-star hotels, a decrease of 14 hotels.

8. The Sizes of Travel Services and Their Performance

--The travel services included in State statistics at the end of 2003 numbered 13,361 at the end of 2003, 1,809 more than a year ago. Of these, 1,364 were international travel services, 15 more than a year ago, and 11,997 were domestic travel services, an increase of 1,794.

--The travel services throughout the country had a total asset of 38.78 billion yuan at the end of 2003, down 5.9% compared with a year ago. The travel services as a whole earned a total business income of 65.27 billion yuan in 2003, down 8.1% from 2002. They delivered 666 million yuan in tax to the State, down 16.2%.

--The international travel services attracted 5.226 million overseas visitor arrivals and they stayed in the country a total of 19.73 million days, down 44.1% and 50% respectively. The number of overseas tourists received by international travel services numbered 8.967 million, who stayed in the country a total of more than 21 million days, down 49.1% and 51.4% respectively. 

--The travel services throughout the country organized 36.42 million domestic tourists who stayed overnight in 2003, down 4.9% from 2002. They spent 111.399 million days on their tours, down 24.7% on 2002. The travel services hosted 61.85 million domestic tourists who stayed overnight in 2003, and they spent l09.42 million days on their tours, down 22.4% and 11.2% respectively. 

9. Chinese Tourists Visiting Overseas

While the number of both foreign visitor arrivals and domestic tourists in China were affected by SARS in 2003, the number of Chinese people taking tours overseas continued to rise considerably.

--The number of Chinese people touring overseas rose to 20.22 million in 2003, 21.8% over the preceding year.  Of these, 5.41 million people went overseas on official assignment, down 17.3% from 2002; while 14.81 million went overseas for personal reasons, up 47.2%. The ten front-ranking countries in the order of the number of Chinese visitors on the first leg of their tours were: Hong Kong, Macao, Japan, Russia, Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, the United States, Singapore and Malaysia.