Last year, more than 100 million people from China traveled abroad, making the country the world’s #1 exporter of international tourists. What’s most amazing about this fact is that, just a generation ago, only the elite and politically connected could get permission to travel abroad. The rest of the population could only dream of such a “bourgeois” activity under the restrictions of the Communist state. But today, with a rapidly growing middle class and a socialist economy that looks and smells a lot like capitalism, Chinese citizens have unprecedented opportunities to travel the world.
The boom in Chinese tourism isn’t just a way for Chinese citizens to learn about the rest of the world. It’s also an opportunity for the rest of the world to learn about the Chinese. As the anthropologist James Clifford once said, not only do tourists travel, but their cultures travel as well.
Here are some of the things the new Chinese traveler would like you to know.