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Thanks to its rich tourist resources -- high mountains, elegant rivers, springs and waterfalls, rich and varied folk customs, rare species, scenic spots and historical sites, distinctive opera, music and dance,and world-famous cuisine -- China attracts a large number of domestic and foreign tourists every year.

Today, China has one of the world#s largest domestic tourist markets and an outbound market growing at a rate unequalled anywhere. In 2004, the incoming tourists reached 109.038 million person-times, 19 percent up on 2003; foreign exchange revenue from tourism reached US$ 25.74 billion, a 47.8 percent year-on-year increase; the number of tourists from the 16 main source countries hit a record level, far surpassing the 2003 total.

China is emerging as the country with the world#s highest growth rate for outbound tourism. According to a survey conducted by an international tourism monitoring agency of Asia-Pacific region, the average daily expenses (excluding purchases) of a Chinese tourist during one long holiday reach US$175; a German Chamber of Commerce survey shows average daily expenses of US$110 in Germany, second to American tourists# US$117; the Swiss Information Network report puts the figure for Switzerland at $313, the highest spending for any source country.

According to the World Tourist and Travel Council (WTTC), China#s travel industry may grow by 10.4 percent a year over the next 10 years, lifting China to fourth rank in terms of industry size. The World Tourism Organization predicts that by 2020 China will be the world#s top tourist destination, and fourth in outbound tourist numbers with 100 million Chinese people traveling abroad every year.

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