Despite being the largest source of overseas travelers in the world, China's outbound tourism market is still at the fledgling stage, said a new report.
The study compiled by China Academy of Social Sciences estimates that the number of Chinese travelers going abroad grew by less than 10 percent in 2016, the second year under the mark of 10 percent after years of rapid expansion.
Though the country has huge potential in overseas travel market, the report suggests that outbound tourism is at a fledgling stage, with those going abroad a small part of the total population and the travel market is far from mature.
Chinese outbound travelers should better understand local cultures in their foreign destinations and their image as a whole needs to be improved, added the report.
In recent years, more and more countries have opened their doors for Chinese visitors - a total of 151 countries and regions are open for Chinese travelers, with 57 having preferential visa policies. As a result, 122 million Chinese traveled overseas in 2016, making it the largest country in terms of number of outbound travelers, according to China National Tourism Administration.
The top 10 foreign destinations for Chinese tourists in 2016 were Thailand, Japan, South Korea, France, Italy, Indonesia, Switzerland, the US, Germany and Australia, according to Tuniu, a leading travel booking website.
The report also said that the inbound tourism market has regained its growth momentum in recent years. In 2016, the number of foreign visitors coming to China is expected to grow by around 4 percent to 138 million, partly thanks to more visa-free and tax refund policies and the depreciation of RMB.