China earned US$29.828 billion from foreign tourists in the first nine months of the year, down 3.26% on the same period last year, Xinhua reported, citing National Tourism Administration figures. More than 18.35 million foreigners visited the country over the period, down 3.53% on a year earlier. September visits declined 15.1% year-on-year to 1.88 million, while spending dropped 11.36% to US$3.142 billion. Industry experts attributed the downturn to the magnitude 8 earthquake that struck Sichuan province in May, other natural disasters and the global financial crisis. The administration also revealed nearly 34.39 million Chinese tourists took overseas trips in September, up 14.8% on a year earlier.

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