China's outbound tourism saw steady growth in the first half of this year, and countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) have emerged as popular attractions for Chinese travelers, the China Tourism Academy said in a news conference in Beijing on Thursday.
The academy said Chinese travelers made about 81.3 million outbound visits from January to June, up 14 percent over the same period in 2018. Among overseas destinations that domestic travelers visited, attractions in BRI-related countries saw continuous growth.
Mafengwo, an online travel agency headquartered in Beijing, said in a report jointly released with the academy on Thursday that State policy plays a rather important role in affecting the destinations travelers select.
The online agency added that the initiative has strongly boosted tourism cooperation between China and BRI-involved countries, bringing attractions in these places to the attention of more Chinese travelers.
For example, people's willingness to travel to Italy rose by 28 percent year-on-year in the first half after the country signed a memorandum of understanding with China in March. Travel to Montenegro surged 161 percent year-on-year in the first six months, Mafengwo said.
Zhao Ran, Mafengwo's marketing strategy manager, said at the news conference that the reason some travel to initiative-related destinations is due to easier visa policies and convenient transportation, thus luring more Chinese visitors.
The Ministry of Transport said there were now nonstop flights between China and 45 BRI-related countries and regions. Also, about 112 new flight routes were opened since 2018 to BRI-related countries and regions, covering nearly 84 percent of domestic provinces.