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Written by: Staff

Singapore, March 27: Tourists to India spent $372 million on their Visa cards in the fourth quarter of 2005, a 25 percent rise from a year earlier, making India the fastest- growing Asia-Pacific market for international tourist spending, Visa said on Monday (Mar 27, 2006).

The card payment firm said in a statement that China was the second fastest-growing market in the region, with tourists spending $784 million in the fourth quarter, a 23 percent increase from a year earlier.

It said the highest average spending per transaction in the Asia-Pacific region was also seen in Asia's fast-growing economies, China and India.

China saw the highest amount of spending, with an average of $204 spent per transaction, while India saw an average $191 per transaction.

The regional average was $156 per transaction.

Indian tourism demand will grow at an annual 8.8 percent over the next 10 years, fuelled by higher incomes and lower air fares, recent estimates of the World Travel&Tourism Council show.

Visa said overall spending on Visa cards by travellers to and within the Asia-Pacific region totalled $6.5 billion in the October-December period -- a 12 percent rise from a year earlier, and compared with spending of $5.8 billion in the third quarter of 2005.

It added that Australia, China, Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan were the top five destinations in the region in terms of total spending by tourists on their Visa cards.

Tourists from the United States, Britain, Japan, Australia and Hong Kong were the biggest spenders in the region, accounting for 54 percent of total spending on Visa cards.

International tourists made over 42 million Visa card transactions in the region in the last quarter of 2005 and withdrew $1.4 billion in cash at ATMs and over-the-counter outlets, Visa said.

About 26 percent of the card spending went on retail goods, 21 percent was spent on accommodation and 11 percent on transportation, Visa said.


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