The United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predicts China will become the world’s largest destination in the next five to seven years, thanks to the country’s diverse culture, heritage sites, and culinary art that has a strong hold on tourists.

China is the country with the biggest population in the world and it is also an extensive and diverse country. That means it is very attractive for tourists and visitors, Taleb Rifai, secretary general of UNWTO, was quoted as saying by local media.

According to UNWTO, China received 53 million foreign visitors in 2010. The country ranks third in world’s most important destination and has beaten major tourism nations including Italy and UK and Germany in the recent past.

Even as China continues to emerge as the new superpower in the global economy, its consequences are expected to define world tourism as well, according to

Professor Haiyan Song, chair professor of tourism at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said “China will become the largest tourist destination in the world after 2015.”

According to Professor Song, both China’s inbound and outbound tourism is expected to grow profusely within four years.

International arrivals in China are forecast to grow to about 188 million in 2015 over 130 million in 2009 -- that would give the country a 50 percent share of the inbound market to Asia Pacific, he said.

China’s outbound travel numbers could grow to 79 million by 2015, outdoing Germany -- that makes it the largest outbound travel market worldwide, he added.