SANYA: China is expected to become the world's largest tourist destination by 2015, said Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Taleb Rifai.
"China is now the world's fourth largest destination for incoming tourists, and since the rates of growth are moving so quickly, UNWTO predicts that China will become the world's no.1 tourist destination by 2015," Rifai said, according to Xinhua news agency.
France is currently the country receiving the most international tourists, at 80 million per year, followed by the United States and Spain, both at 60 million a year, while China gets about 48 million, he said.
"China's tourism economy has moved incredibly in the last ten years. The number of incoming tourists rose from 8 million to 48 million. The potential of the growth is still big because of the size of China," Rifai said.
Rifai said the global tourism industry was improving but challenges remained 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 full recovery at the moment," he said. - Bernama