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Tourists Bring Economic Benefits to Destination Countries
The growing number of Chinese tourists are bringing economic benefits to their destination countries around the world.

"A growing number of nations benefit from outbound tourists which indicates booming prosperity," said Xu Shengli, the representative of the German National Tourist Office for China.

"Instead of being a threat, China's prosperity provides more opportunities for neighboring countries, and tourism is no doubt a good illustration," said Kashi Raj Bhandari, officer of Nepal Tourism Board.

Chinese tourists spent more than 500 million US dollars worth of foreign income in Malaysia last year. The tropical nation is aiming to attract one million Chinese tourists as soon as possible in an attempt to share China's prosperity.

Singapore received 590,000 Chinese visitors last year. The number is expected to reach 600,000 in 2002 and possibly exceed one million by 2005. China ranked the sixth in terms of tourist source countries for Singapore, said Chew Tiong Heng, an official with the Singaporean Tourism Board in China.

So far, 22 countries and regions have received the Approved Destination Status (ADS) from the Chinese government and the number is growing. Many countries applying for ADS expressed the hope of sharing in the prosperity of the world's most populous nation.

"During the first half of this year, the number of Chinese visiting Canada rose 40 percent over the same period last year. I believe once China and Canada sign an agreement on ADS, the number will double very soon," said Richard Liu, director of the Canadian Tourism Commission in China.

The Chinese government has simplified exit procedures for outbound travelers. Since early this month, new rules and regulations have been implemented to protect consumers and regulate the tourism industry.

The number of international bank cards rose from 22,000 in 1998 to 500,000 last year. There is still more potential in the card business, predicts Visa Card International.

"China's fast expanding overseas tourism propelled the global economy. The increased number of Chinese tourists has not only exported economic benefits, but also promoted cultural exchanges. For many of these countries, China's prosperity is good opportunity," said Lu Renbo, an expert of the Development Research Center of the State Council.

(Xinhua News Agency July 11, 2002)

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