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.
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
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.