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Hong Kong, China, to lead Asia Pacific travel growth in H2 - Mastercard survey


Singapore (XFNews-ASIA) - Travellers from Hong Kong and China are expected to lead steady tourist industry growth in the Asia Pacific region during the second half of 2006, a regional survey said.

Credit card firm MasterCard said Hong Kong would lead the way, with an estimated 3.25 mln outbound travellers during the six months to December, up 15 pct from the previous year.

China is expected to see growth of 12.5 pct to nearly 19 mln visitors overseas, it said in its latest travel rerport.

Malaysia will also grow 12.5 pct but this includes people crossing the land border daily into Singapore to work, a spokeswoman for MasterCard said.

"The continuing strength in the growth of outbound travel in the Asia Pacific further reinforces our view that personal travel is being entrenched as an integral part of the lifestyles of the expanding middle class in the region," said MasterCard economic advisor Yuwa Hedrick-Wong.

For personal travel, Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, the US and Japan are likely to benefit from Chinese tourists.

Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan are the likely beneficiaries from Chinese business travellers.

An estimated 5.78 mln South Koreans are expected to travel abroad in the next six months, up 9.0 pct from last year, followed by Thailand with growth of 6.7 pct and Indonesia at 6.0 pct.

Outbound Japanese travellers are forecast at 9.44 mln, up 3.8 pct.

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