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China travel resurgence raises prospect of higher wealth outflows

Experts say tourism used to skirt capital controls; post-reopening trips near 40m

Beijing Capital International Airport: Discrepancies in spending figures by Chinese tourists reflect individuals ferrying money overseas, Natixis says.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Chinese capital outflows under the guise of tourism look set to increase this year, after border restrictions were scrapped and the country logged nearly 40 million entries and exits in the first two months.

While most travelers go abroad to explore, dine, shop and relax, trips can also be an opportunity to get around Beijing's strict capital controls. China's figures for travel spending typically do not match up with those of destination countries and global data sources -- a discrepancy, according to French investment bank Natixis, that reflects Chinese individuals ferrying money overseas.

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