Chinese tourists take a 'selfie' at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on November 14, 2016, as Sikh devotees mark the 547th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev. Photo: AFP / Narinder Nanu

The National Tourism Administration of China said on Tuesday that it is investigating the “illegal practices” of tourist agencies who collect guaranteed sums for overseas travel without the use of an intermediary bank, the China News Agency reported.

Chinese travellers should be sending guaranteed sums to a bank for capital management, the country’s top agency regulating overseas travel said.

The agency also said that it will “severely investigate” practices where tour companies ask travellers to send money to the agency or to the accounts of employees working at the travel agencies, instead of a bank designated for handling the guarantee sums, the report wrote.

Close to 133 million tourists travelled from China last year, according to a report by a Beijing-based research institution. Chinese tourists are also spending more, with an increase of 12% from 2015 to 2016, clocking in at US$261 billion last year according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.