China should make an effort to increase the income level of residents so as to boost tourism consumption, as more than 90% of Chinese people have never been abroad, said Li Xunlei, chief economist at Zhongtai Securities, reported.

The number of Chinese who have travelled abroad so far accounts for less than 10% of China’s total population, and may be in the range of 5% to 7%, according to Li.

Although many research institutions are optimistic about the development prospects of overseas tourism, the growth rate of private outbounds is showing a downward trend. It was only 5.7% in 2017, compared to 10.6% in 2015 and 22% in 2010. This essentially reflects the decline in the growth rate of disposable income of Chinese residents, Li said.

In 2018, China’s tourism deficit hit a record high, reaching US$237.4 billion, an increase of US$21.4 billion over the previous year. However, in the context of declining income growth of residents, it is unrealistic to achieve rapid growth in tourism revenue, Li emphasized.