February 3, 2017 / 2:41 AM / 2 years ago

China tourism revenue up 16 percent over Lunar New Year

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s tourism industry saw revenues of 423.3 billion yuan ($61.55 billion) during the recent Lunar New Year festival, up 15.9 percent against last year, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) said late on Thursday.

A tourist walks under the lanterns along a street ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year outside Raohe street Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

The rate of growth, driven by 344 million domestic tourist trips, was, however, slightly slower than the 16.3 percent rise seen in the corresponding year-ago period. Trips abroad over the period increased more moderately with around 6.15 million outbound Chinese tourists, up around 7 percent, CNTA said.

China’s tourism industry is key to the country’s shift towards a more services-driven economy and is a useful indicator of the strength of consumer spending. The domestic sector raked in 3.9 trillion yuan in 2016, which Beijing wants to raise to 7 trillion yuan by 2020, official news agency Xinhua said.

China’s retail and catering firms saw sales over the week-long holiday of around 840 billion yuan, the commerce ministry said in a separate statement, up 11.4 percent over 2016.

Lunar New Year in China is closely watched as it marks a spike in tourism and retail spending as millions of people return home or go on vacation domestically or overseas.

($1 = 6.8768 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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