Latest MasterIndex of Travel Forecasts Slowdown of Growth in Outbound Travel across Asia-Pacific in 1st Half of 2007

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MasterCard Worldwide recently announced the results of its latest MasterIndex of Travel report, predicting a slowdown in growth of outbound travel across the Asia-Pacific in the first half of 2007.

While markets across the Asia-Pacific continue to see growth in outbound travel, with China (12%), Malaysia (7.8%) and Thailand (7.2%) experiencing the highest year-on-year growth, the rate of growth across most markets in the Asia-Pacific have dropped compared to the previous survey.

"This near term outlook of outbound travel appears to be consistent with our long term view of a massive expansion of overseas travel in Asia in the coming decade. Some marginal slowdown in growth in some markets is to be expected. The important thing to note is that growth momentum remains intact," observed Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor to MasterCard Worldwide in Asia-Pacific.

Markets seeing the greatest slowdown in the rate of growth in outbound travel are Hong Kong, Korea and Malaysia. Hong Kong's rate of growth of outbound travel is expected to slow down significantly from a robust 15% (seen in the previous survey for the second half of 2006) to a less optimistic 4.5%. For Korea and Malaysia, a slowdown in their year-on-year growth from a previously recorded 9.0% and 12.5% respectively, to 3.6% and 7.8% respectively, is predicted for the first half of 2007.

Mirroring the earlier forecast in the second half of 2006, Malaysia is expected to continue to take the lead in the number of outbound travelers (including visitors to Singapore). Over 21.5 million outbound visits are expected to be made by Malaysians for work and leisure from January to June 2007. Key markets that stand to benefit from the continued increase in Malaysians traveling overseas include Singapore, China, Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Released twice a year, the MasterIndex of Travel also includes a survey of business and personal travel trends among the urban middle class across 13 markets (Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam). …