Over the past five years the number of outbound travellers from the People's Republic of China (PRC) doubled, making Chinese tourists the largest group of international travellers in the world. Drawing on media reports of the impact of box office hits on Chinese outbound tourism, we explore how popular cinema informs the Chinese tourism boom's impact on the everyday geopolitics of Sino-host tourism encounters. Through a critical discourse analysis of representations of tourism practices in Chinese film, we highlight key tropes of economic and political power that present touristic practices as imaginable, aspirational, and attainable. We then examine how actual tourism encounters compare to their onscreen imaginaries. Drawing on theoretical and methodological insights from film studies, political anthropology and geography, this article contributes to emerging multi-disciplinary work on how filmic representations of Chinese tourism mediates the ongoing rearticulation of geopolitics within what has been dubbed the 'Chinese Century'.