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China and Asia's Aviation Markets Continue to Expand: PATA
China and the Pacific Asia region's aviation market continue to perform well relative to global figures, with 30 to 50-plus percentage increase in international traffic expected in China, a travel association president said.

President and CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)Peter de Jong made the remarks at the Asia Pacific Aviation Management Roundtable held by the Economist Conference here Thursday.

"The engines of growth have been Northeast and Southeast Asia, with Northeast Asia in particular, continuing on a solid upward path during 2002. One of the key players, of course, is China, which, in the first seven months of this year, posted a spectacular increase of more than 16 percent in foreign visitor arrivals," de Jong said.

He said the increase was spectacular because "in the current global climate, where else can one see percentage gains of 30, 40 and even 50 percent plus, in international traffic? Where else butthe People's Republic of China," he said. He added that countries once highly dependent on the United States and Japanese markets seemed to have suffered more than those who had diversified their dependency on different markets.

Recent short-term travel forecasts released by PATA suggest that several destinations within the Pacific Asia region can also expect to see strong double-digit percentage growth each year between now and 2003, de Jong said.

These gains are not just in one or two source markets, but virtually across the board, as a recent report released by PATA looking at the regional tourism performance for the first six months of 2002 showed international visitor arrivals to China increasing in 39 out of the 42 origin markets surveyed, de Jong said.

China outbound to Australia and New Zealand is also predicted to grow in excess of 20 percent a year until 2004, and Vietnam is expected to receive close to one million Chinese arrivals by 2004 -double the 2001 figure, he said.

Fourteen countries within the Pacific Asia region, for example, have recorded increases of Chinese mainland visitors of more than 10 percent every year since 1996.

Chinese travelers who can afford international air travel are likely to be households concentrated along China's eastern seaboard in urban areas such as Shanghai and the Pearl River Delta, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2002)

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