Chinese tourists are by far the largest group of tourists that visit Germany from Asia. Since 2009, the number of overnight stays by Chinese guests in Germany has more than tripled and by 2017 stood at over 2.86 million (including Hong Kong). This constitutes an increase of 10.6 per cent compared to 2016. The German National Tourist Board expects there to be further above-average growth in the coming years. By 2030, the number of overnight stays by Chinese tourists in Germany could reach 5 million.
The Chinese government allows Chinese citizens to go on group tours abroad only if these countries have been granted Approved Destination Status (ADS). In 2004, the European Community and the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate travel by Chinese tourist groups to Europe. The German version of the Memorandum was published in the Official Journal of the EU No. L 83/14 of 20 March 2004.
The agreement regulates the application procedure for tourist visas and contains provisions on the repatriation of Chinese tourists who have remained illegally in the EU. In addition, a Joint Declaration on the implementing provisions, which forms part of the Memorandum, regulates the framework conditions for cooperation between travel agencies and tour operators on both sides as regards the organisation of group trips to Germany. This means that only those tour operators from EU Member States who are listed by CNTA and whose company names have been published on the internet by CNTA may participate in the organisation of group tours from China to the EU.
German tour operators wishing to participate in the organisation of group tours to Germany or to other EU Member States may apply to be registered in the list of German tour operators. The list is maintained by the . It is updated twice a year and sent to the CNTA for publication.