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, Yicai.com 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.