China has become a major tourist destination, especially since its opening to the world in the late 1970s.
By 2003 China had some 9,751 tourist hotels and a burgeoning hospitality industry, much of it joint ventures with foreign partners. In 2004 China received some 109 million tourists and visitors. However, 88.4 million (80.7 percent of the total) visits were made by individuals arriving via the Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions, including those who made multiple and often same-day trips to China.
Others came from Taiwan (3.3 percent), Japan (3.0 percent), South Korea (2.6 percent), Russia, (1.6 percent), and the United States (nearly 1.1 percent). In 2004 visitors to China spent some US$25.7 billion.
At the same time, China increased its own tourism; travelers from China spent more than US$15 billion on tourism in other countries in 2002.