Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Chinese cities draw millions of international visitors

Shanghai shopping center
China may have strict visa require-ments, but they don't stop visitors from entering the Middle Kingdom.  Tourism is a booming business there, with the country putting five cities on a CNN list of the world's most visited cities in 2014. Travelers flocked here for both business and pleasure.

Whether China will have that many visitors in the following years remains to be seen. Major cities are battling heavy pollution, a deterrent to pleasure travelers.

Shanghai, the largest city in China and growing even larger,  ranked No. 20 on the list. International visitors are up, too, to 6.4 million in 2014.

Even more international visitors came to Guangzhou, once known as Canton. The city counted 8.2 million visitors in 2014, to rank at No. 16.

Shenzhen used to be a small sleepy town back in the 1980s, CNN notes, but that's all changed today. In 2014, this economic hub welcomed 13.2 visitors.

No. 6 on the list was Macau, the former Portuguese colony that returned to China in the late 20th century. It's known as Las Vegas of the East because of its over-the-top casinos. International visitors totaled 14.97 million in 2014.

Leading the list is Hong Kong, with 27.77 million visitors making it the world's most visited city in 2014. This is 10 million visitors more than London, which ranked No. 2.