History of Chinese Outbound Tourism


In 1983 the Chinese Government allowed the Chinese people to participate in organised journeys to Hong Kong to visit friends and relatives (VFR Visiting Friends and Relatives).Â

In the seventh five year plan of the Chinese Government in December 1985 they defined tourism as economical activity with the goal to receive foreign currency. Short afterwards distinct goals where defined in the National Tourism Plan for 1986 to 2000, among other things goals for the Outbound Tourism:

  • In the first phase 1986 – 1990 the goal was to enforce the service quality and infrastructure for the Chinese Inbound Tourism to be one of the best developed inbound tourism destination.
  • In the second phase 1991 – 2000 Chinas goal was to have 10 – 12 million visitors
  • Additionally it was planned to develop oversee trips of Chinese citizens.

In the 1990s the Chinese Government established holiday regulations. Every worker had the opportunity to take 7 – 15 days of holiday in dependence of their belonging to the company. More spare time means more time to travel which boosted the domestic tourism as well as the outbound tourism. The establishment of a week with just five working days was leading to more spare time, which even strengthened the trend for travels.

The breakthrough for Chinese Outbound Tourism have been in Mai 1991 when the Chinese Government allowed organised journeys of the Chinese Travel Service (CTS) for Chinese citizens to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The next big step in the development of tourism followed in October 1992 during the 14th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. The “market economy within the socialism” was proclaimed, which allowed the market powers to allocate their resources within the socialist’s principles.

The new reform opened the pricing system within the Chinese tourism market, which was formerly controlled by the government. Additionally foreign direct investments, which have only been allowed in the hotel sector, now opened partially for travel agencies and the aviation industry.

The final breakthrough for Chinese Outbound Tourism has been 1997 when the Chinese Government officially allowed foreign touristic travels for personal pleasure.

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