Boosted by an appreciating Chinese currency, Chinese travelers spent a record $102 billion in international tourism in 2012 (making it the first tourism source market in the world in terms of spending), a 40 percent jump from 2011 when it was $73 billion. The volume of international trips by Chinese travelers has grown from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012. According to Euromonitor, outbound trips from China are expected to record a “sharp” 15 percent rise in CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 2012 to 2017. Though short-haul visits to Hong Kong and Macau are the most popular destinations, non-Asian countries are rising in importance. Inbound tourism flows to China are forecast to grow at a 2.3 percent CAGR over the same period, according to the Forecast Revisit for the Global Travel and Tourism Industry report. Hong Kong is the largest source of arrivals, accounting for 27 million, but Western European and U.S. markets are expected to grow, said Ray Li, senior research analyst at Euromonitor. Rising disposable incomes are leading to a “sharp” rise in Chinese sales of such discretionary goods and services as travel, cars and fashion. In addition, the changing role of women is driving demand for clothing, cosmetics and travel. Another major factor in the Chinese travel market is the intensifying competition among China’s online travel agencies, including Ctrip, Qunar and eLong. China is the world leader for number of Internet users and smartphones sold, and web giants such as Tencent and Baidu are making inroads in the online travel market. Chinese hotels are performing strongly, and although China’s hotel industry is dominated by budget properties, the luxury segment is expected to achieve strongest growth between 2012 and 2017. Get the full story at TravelPulse