Aiming to beef up mainland tourist traffic, Singapore, effective December 1, loosened financial restrictions on mainlanders traveling to the republic. Chinese who hold Visa Gold or Platinum credit cards can now qualify for two-year Singapore travel visas without making the usual security deposit or providing proof of financial status. Mainlanders spent more than US$13m using their Visa cards in Singapore in 2003, up 87% on 2002, the Straits Times newspaper reported. Meanwhile, the Philippines has begun to pitch itself as a travel destination for Chinese. WTO data show 87% of China's outbound travelers head for Hong Kong and Macau.
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