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More Chinese to Travel Overseas
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The number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad, though the latest participants in international tourism, is expected to be the largest in Asia in a couple of years, despite a sharp economic downturn in the region, according to a Morgan Stanley analyst.

As China is registering strong growth from a low base, the country's currency has not devalued like other Asian currencies, which has made many Asian destinations affordable to Chinese for the first time, Andy Xie, Morgan Stanley's senior analyst, told Xinhua news agency in Hong Kong.

Official figures showed that over 10 million Chinese tourists went abroad last year, spending a total of US$10.6 billion. The great potential of the Chinese market has caught the attention of other countries.

The world tourism forecasts also indicate that by 2020, China will be the country with the largest number of tourists to go abroad. The world tourism industry will thus meet with a new wave.

"If you haven't seen Chinese tourists yet, get your shops ready, as this is a 50-year growth business," he reassured in his latest report titled Asia Pacific Econo-mics: Penny Pinchers.

Commenting on the future of the tourism industry in Asia, Xie said as income has grown rapidly over the past two decades in East Asia, tourism has grown faster than anywhere else, making the industry the largest in terms of employment.

However, this industry is particularly cyclical, and resident departures are slowing across the board in the region, Xie said, adding that the downturn is especially sharp among economies that are leveraged to IT and finance. Singapore has both and is by far the worst hit.

(eastday.com.cn 09/10/2001)

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