0637 GMT February 22, 2019
Travelers stayed at least one night in China on 23.64 million of the trips, a growth of 5.2 percent compared to the figure for 2017, said a post on the ministry's website on Tuesday, xinhuanet.com reported.
It said foreign travelers spent $73.1 billion on their trips in China last year, 5.1 percent more than the amount in 2017.
The Republic of Korea, Japan, the US, Malaysia and Singapore were among China's 10 largest source markets of tourism in 2018, according to the ministry.
China offers a 24-hour visa-free transit to eligible international travelers, while people of 53 nationalities can enjoy a 144-hour visa-free transit through a number of cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, the northern city of Shijiazhuang and the northeastern city of Shenyang.
The country's southernmost island province of Hainan, which offered a 15-day visa-free stay for group tourists from over 20 countries for years, started to allow group and individual visitors from 59 countries to travel there visa-free and stay for up to 30 days under certain conditions in May last year.
China's tourism revenue rose 10.5 percent year-on-year to ¥5.97 trillion (about $856.5 billion) in 2018, with over 79.9 million people working in tourism and related industries.