Tourism has come a long way. China had gingerly guarded against foreigners until the early 1980s. The initial influx plagued the country’s poor infrastructure. In two decades, however, its economic miracle has created one of the world’s largest superhighway systems and airline fleets. Five- and four-star hotels are omnipresent. Trains have been speeded up so that a night’s sleep will take a tourist from Beijing to Shanghai. Competition has helped introduce the idea of seasonal discounts and aggressive advertisement.
China’s five-day work-week, adopted in 1995, and week-long paid vacations in both May and October have contributed to a surge in domestic tourism.
Moreover, as the Chinese become richer and the government makes passports more available, outgoing Chinese tourists outnumbered incoming foreign tourists for the first time in 2002, when 7.35 million Chinese went to 226 countries and regions, with Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Japan and Russia the most popular destinations. Meanwhile, 6.14 million tourists visited China from 234 countries, mostly from Japan, South Korea, Russia, the United States, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Mongolia, Thailand and Britain. The number of people going in and out of China’s ports hit a record high of 107.9 million at the same time. Incidentally, the government does not regard Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as ‘abroad’.
Some tour guides accept tips in violation of government regulations. Other abuses include their receiving kickbacks from souvenir dealers that may short-change the tourists. Despite harsh crackdowns on prostitution, visitors may still be surprised by phone solicitations in many hotels.
Oakes, Tim (1998). Tourism and Modernity in China. London: Routledge.
Tan, Chee-Beng, Cheung, Sidney and Yang, Hui (eds) (2001). Tourism, Anthropology and China. Bangkok: White Lotus Press.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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