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.
"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.
Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan are the likely beneficiaries from Chinese business travellers.
Outbound Japanese travellers are forecast at 9.44 mln, up 3.8 pct.