The number of tourists visiting China dropped in 2014, according to survey results published on Tuesday. The reason? A declining image of the country, or so says one expert.
The survey, conducted by the China Tourism News and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), questioned travelers across 23 countries and regions from August to December 2014, according to the Global Times.
The survey found that less people were making trips to the motherland than in years past, and that the number of tourists to China isn’t likely to improve within the next three years.
Previous data from the China Tourism Academy showed that China received 62 million visitors in the first six months of 2014, a 2.8 percent on-year drop. This downtrend actually started in 2011, according to CTA president Dai Bin, who was quoted in a CNBC report.
Liu Zhiming, an expert at the CASS, says that a weakening image of the country has hindered its inbound tourism market.
“Factors including heavy pollution, huge wealth gap, corruption and poor public order contributed to the declining image of China, which are the major causes of a lower number of inbound tourists”.
Chinese tourists, on the other hand, are going stronger than ever. According the CTA, the number of Chinese travelers leaving the Middle Kingdom is projected to grow by 10 million each year for the next 10 years.