Number of visitors to China drops in 2014 Published: 2015-1-15 0:15:25

The number of tourists to China dropped in 2014, according to a tourism survey published on Tuesday.

Issued at an annual conference on the tourism industry, the survey revealed that the image of China presented to foreigners has affected tourism.

The number of tourists to China might not improve in the next three years, the survey showed.

"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,” said Liu Zhiming, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

The survey was conducted by China Tourism News and the CASS in 23 countries and regions from August to December 2014. About 23,000 respondents, from 90 percent of countries whose citizens travel to China, were surveyed.

Despite great challenges, China is also confronted with tremendous opportunities as the surge in global tourism will create a favorable external environment for China to attract foreign tourists, said Liu.

Tourists from various countries showed interest in visiting China with some 60 percent of them “keenly or fairly interested” in it.

People from Malaysia, Vietnam and South Korea expressed the greatest interest while those from South Africa, the US and the UK also expressed strong interest.

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