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The Chinese have yuan and will travel


The Chinese are now the top travel spenders in the world. (Reuters)

While many folks continue to nervously watch their dollars and euros go down the drain, those from mainland China are out spending and travelling the world.

China’s expenditure on foreign travel was $102 billion (U.S.) in 2012, the United Nations World Tourism Organization reported on Thursday.

A growing Chinese middle class and an ease on travel restrictions is behind the surge, the report notes. In 2000, only 10 million Chinese travellers were criss-crossing the globe. By 2012, the number leapt to 83 million, the report said.

Behind them are the Germans who spent $83.8 billion U.S. on travel abroad, the Americans at $83.7 billion, the British at $52.3 billion, the Russians at $42.8 billion, the French at $38.1 billion and the Canadians at $35.2 billion.

The Japanese come in eighth on the list of the world’s top tourism spenders, dishing out $28.1 billion in 2012.

What’s clear is the emerging economies continue to lead growth in tourism demand, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai commented in a release.

“The impressive growth of tourism expenditure from China and Russia reflects the entry into the tourism market of a growing middle class from these countries, which will surely continue to change the map of world tourism,” he said.

Tanya Talaga is the Star's global economics reporter. Follow her on twitter @tanyatalaga



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